Word Wizards Converge at the 53rd Annual Calaveras County Spelling Bee Championship

San Andreas – On April 10, 2024, the gymnasium at Calaveras River Academy/Mountain Oaks was alive with the spirit of competition as the 53rd Annual Calaveras County Spelling Bee Championship unfolded. This year’s bee featured 25 students from 5 Calaveras County Schools.

Students from Avery Middle School, Copperopolis Elementary, Sierra Hills Education Center, Toyon Middle School, and Calaveras High School demonstrated academic excellence and a passion for spelling. Organized by the Calaveras County Office of Education (CCOE), the competition gives students in sixth through ninth grades the opportunity to advance to the State Spelling Bee, which will be held on April 27th at the San Joaquin County Office of Education.

Contestants were awarded first, second, and third place plaques across the four grade levels, with first place winners also receiving a $50 prize sponsored by the Bank of Stockton. The competition culminated in a fierce battle of spelling that concluded with the final challenging word: ‘poignant’.

Jared Hungerford moderated the event, guiding the competitors through three levels, the words became increasingly difficult with each level. Each round consisted of a 15-second time limit to spell the word. Students were allowed up to four incorrect responses before being disqualified. The spelling bee tested a range of spelling skills with words such as ‘flabbergast’, ‘absurd’, and ‘malleable’.

This year’s bee continued the format where students wrote their answers and remained seated while proctors verified their spellings. Each student’s station featured a flag that was lowered for each misspelling. Competitor’s progress was visually tracked based on their respective flag placement.

Debbie Strand, CCOE’s Communication and Student Event Coordinator, reflected on the event’s success: “The level of competition was exceptionally high this year, and it was inspiring to witness the outstanding spelling abilities and sportsmanship displayed by all participants.”

The event was supported by notable local sponsors including the Calaveras Community Foundation, Angels-Murphys Rotary, Adventist Health Sonora, Dignity Health, Bank of Stockton, Middleton’s, and the Calaveras County Office of Education. For more details and images from the event, visit www.ccoe.k12.ca.us/spellingbee/.