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A-Buzz with the County's Top Spellers
UCSC's Classroom Unit 1 and 2 buzzed with excitement on Saturday, Jan. 31, as over one hundred of the county's top spellers gathered for the annual spelling bee. The students, selected as the top two spellers from their schools, represented over thirty public and private schools from throughout Santa Cruz County.
The Santa Cruz County Spelling Bee is a written event. Spellmasters (Mardi Browning of the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Michael McCawley of UCSC) read a word, provide a definition and use the word in a sentence. Then each student is given fifteen seconds to write the word. Volunteer proctors check the spelling of each word as the bee proceeds. After approximately sixty to seventy words have been spelled, the total number correct for each student is calculated and the students with the most correct spellings win.
Emotions ran high in the Elementary Division, where students in grades 4-6 cheered or groaned as the correct spelling of each word was revealed. After spelling over 60 words, Gabriella Ransome of Ocean Grove Charter School emerged as the county's top speller in this division, correctly spelling words like "Fahrenheit" and "raspberry." There was an initial three-way tie for second place, which was settled with a spell-off. In a spell-off, a student will be eliminated after misspelling a single word. After several additional words, Andrew Crabtree, also of Ocean Grove Charter School, placed second and Damian Cardenas of San Lorenzo Valley Elementary placed third. J.J. Kim-Ebio of Alianza Charter School came in fourth.
A smaller field of focused seventh through ninth graders gathered in another classroom for the Junior High Division. After facing a list of over seventy words, including challenges such as "abhorrence" and "idiosyncrasy," Audrey Webb of Pacific Collegiate School received the first place trophy. Second and third place were decided by a spell-off. The tie-breaking word, "maneuverable," placed Rina Rossi, also of Pacific Collegiate School, second and Sage Liem of Branciforte Middle School third. The top two students in each division will represent Santa Cruz County at state-wide spelling bees to be held this spring.
Winners received prizes donated by community businesses, including Boardwalk passes, Roller Palladium passes, and trophies from Brinks Awards and Signs. All contestants enjoyed cookies provided by Pacific Cookie Company and apple juice courtesy of Martinelli's. Additional Santa Cruz County Spelling Bee sponsors include: University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Darco Printing and Paper, Bay Tree Book Store, Choi's Tae Kwan Do and Sports Design.
Santa Cruz County Students Swarm to UCSC for Spelling Bee - Santa Cruz Sentinel - published January 31, 2015