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Academic Competitions

Student Enrichment Programs

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education sponsors several academic enrichment programs and student competitions throughout the year. 

Language Ambassadors Student Recognition Program

Language Ambassador recognition will be granted to students in TK/kinder, third, fifth and eighth grade who complete a number of activities throughout the year in a language other than English. The activities ask student to learn, interact and create. By engaging in these activities, students develop the skills and interest in language learning needed to earn the State Seal of Biliteracy at the conclusion of high school. By participating in the program, students build competency for local and global citizenship.

Contact Information

Sofia Sorensen, Multilingual Achievement Coordinator
(831) 466-5807 | Email

Math Contest

The 2023 Math Contest will occur the morning of Saturday, May 6 2023, and offer students in grades 5-8 the opportunity to participate in advanced and thought-provoking mathematics in a social and competitive atmosphere. Students will participate in both a Team Competition, and an Individual Competition, and medals will be awarded to individuals and teams in grades 5-8. 

Contact Information

Kevin Drinkard, Math Contest Coordinator
(831) 466-5821 | Email

Laurie Stewart, Math Contest Administrative Assistant
(831) 466-5802 | Emai

Mock Trial

Mock Trial Competition takes high school students to the heart of the justice system. Students acquire critical thinking skills and an in-depth understanding of our judicial process as they study a hypothetical case, conduct legal research, and role play at the trial. Mock Trial is a partnership with the Constitutional Rights Foundation and the Santa Cruz legal community which emphasizes the development of students’ analytical and critical thinking skills.

Contact Information

Michael Paynter, Director, Student Support Services
(831) 466-5729 | Email

Poetry Out Loud County Competition

February 2, 2022, location: Bookshop Santa Cruz
Poetry Out Loud is a nationwide program, originally created by the National Endowment for the Arts, that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, culminating at the national finals in Washington D.C. Students compete for awards, scholarships, and prizes. County winners compete at the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals in Sacramento. One student will be selected to compete at the National FinalsCheck out poetryoutloud.org for detailed information.

Contact Information

Audrey Sirota, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator
(831) 466-5827 | Email

Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair

March 11, 2023, location: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds
The Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair provides a competitive academic opportunity for students in grades 4-12. Students design individual or team science projects and compete for awards, scholarships and prizes. Top award winners represent Santa Cruz County at the California State Science Fair located at the California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA and International Science and Engineering Fair (May 13-19, 2023 Dallas, Texas).

Contact Information

Heather Wygant, Science Coordinator
(831) 466-5727 | Email33

Spelling Bee

January 28, 2023, location: Hybrid
In partnership with Newspapers in Education/The Sentinel and UCSC, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education coordinates the annual Spelling Bee. Students in grades 4-6 and 7-9 compete locally. Winners from each grade level go to regional and state competitions.

Contact Information

Sofia Sorensen, Multilingual Achievement Coordinator
(831) 466-5807 | Email

Laurie Stewart, Spelling Bee Administrative Assistant
(831) 466-5802 | Email

Student Authors’ Fair

May 7, 2022 location: Del Mar Elementary School
Sponsored by the Santa Cruz Reading Association and the Santa Cruz COE, the Student Authors’ Fair encourages students to write and illustrate their own books. Students are recognized by the community during the Authors’ Fair. There is no judging or censorship at the Fair. Every book entered receives an Award Certificate. High quality and exciting displays of students’ writing are encouraged. Be creative!

Contact Information

Sofia Sorensen, Multilingual Achievement Coordinator
(831) 466-5807 | Email

image of the santa cruz county office of education logo

Virtual Math Festival Engages Students

On Saturday morning, May 9, 65 students and 20 adult volunteers chose to start their day off with math!

standing student and adult

2016 Santa Cruz County Math Contest

359 students in grades 5-8 poured onto the Aptos High School campus to engage in Mathematics.

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