Fahrenheit, masquerade, pneumonia, indict, echelon—these are some of the challenging words that the county’s top spellers from grades 4-7—faced in the annual county-wide spelling bee held on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 at the UCSC campus. Mardi Browning, of the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Michael McCawley, retired UCSC Admissions Director, served once again as Spellmasters, over-seeing two divisions : Elementary (grades 4-6) and Junior (7-9) for the written competition.
Not surprisingly, given the difficulty of the words presented, there were no perfect papers this year. The winners were students who had the fewest number of errors.
In the Junior Division, Evan Doane, of Monte Vista Christian School placed first, Ella Webb of Scotts Valley Middle School placed second and Grace Jones of Gateway School placed third. Both Webb and Doane advance to the State Spelling Bee to be held in Marin County this spring.
In the Elementary Division, spell-offs were needed to select a third place winner. Sage Kelly of New Brighton Middle School won the first place trophy after correctly spelling “xenophobia.” Vikram Sathish of Scotts Valley Middle School was awarded the second place trophy. Nga Ho, of Linscott Charter School took home the third place trophy after correctly spelling “grandiloquence.” Kelly and Sathish will represent Santa Cruz County at the State Spelling Bee for the Elementary Division to be held in Stockton this spring.