spelling bee

A Cochise County Spelling Bee contestant participates in the event last year in Sierra Vista.

SIERRA VISTA — The county school superintendent’s office is looking for top elementary and middle school spellers to compete in an upcoming spelling bee.

The 2020 Cochise County Spelling Bee is Feb. 22, and will be held at First Baptist Christian Academy, said Johann Scott, event spokeswoman and volunteer coordinator.

“Every year, we’re completely amazed by the caliber of spellers who compete in this event,” he said. “It’s always an exciting competition with very impressive spellers.”

Thirty-nine students from across Cochise County qualified to compete in last year’s spelling bee, an event sponsored by the county superintendent’s office.

After going 32 rounds, Diana Berry, a Ray Borane Middle School eighth-grader from Douglas, won the competition, and went on to represent Cochise County in the state spelling bee in Phoenix. Cochise County’s second-place winner was Martha Castro, a Stevenson Elementary School fifth-grader, also from Douglas.

“Private, public, charter and home-schooled students may compete,” Scott said. “All students must participate in at least one spelling bee to compete in the county competition.”

To qualify for the state competition, spellers advance by winning preliminary bees at the classroom, school district and county levels.

Each county sends one champion to the state competition, with the following exceptions: Pima County sends its winner and runner-up; Maricopa County Regions send two contestants, the winner and first runner up from each of its six regions. Twenty-seven top Arizona spellers compete in the state spelling bee.

The state spelling bee will be 1 p.m. at Arizona PBS, 555 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix. Last year’s state winner was Omkar Bharath, a Desert Canyon Middle School sixth-grader from Scottsdale.

“We’re very excited about the county competition, and hope to top last year’s number of competitors,” Scott said. “This is always a great event, and we would love to see more teachers and administrators at the event, rooting their students on. So, I’m urging everyone to mark your calendars and come join the fun.”

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