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March 20, 2023

Top spellers crowned at SC County Bee

SANTA CRUZ—The top spellers in the annual Santa Cruz County Spelling Bee were announced Monday following the one-day event at UC Santa Cruz Saturday.

Bayview Elementary student Liesl Hildebrand claimed first place in the Elementary Division and Gateway School student Sky Zeltser placed first in the Junior High Division.

Elementary and Junior High students squared off in the annual one-day event where Elementary (grades 4-6) and Junior High (grades 7-9) grappled over words such as “cauliflower” and “incandescent,” said Santa Cruz County Office of Education Multilingual Achievement Coordinator Sofia Sorensen.

First- and second-place finishers now progress to the California State Spelling Championship scheduled for May 13 at the San Joaquin County Office of Education in Stockton.

“Congratulations to our winners, and to every student who participated in this exciting academic event,” Sorensen said. “We were thrilled to bring the Spelling Bee back in-person this year and to see such talent and love of words from students across Santa Cruz County.”

The other winners in the Elementary Division were Ihan King, 5th grade, Westlake Elementary, 2nd place; Aria Menon, 6th grade, Mountain Elementary, 3rd place. Other Junior High Division winners were Ryan Repp, 8th grade, Aptos Jr. High, 2nd place; and Cooper Nelson, 8th grade, Aptos Jr. High., 3rd place.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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