Students from the Payson Unified School District waged a battle of vowels and consonants during the districtwide spelling bee Thursday.
Forty-eight of the area's top spellers from grades 4 through 8 took the stage at the high school auditorium to compete for advancement to the county competition.
Participants included fifth-graders, #18 Janelle Garrison of Julia Randall Elementary, #13 Michelle Daniels of Frontier Elementary, and #20 Shannon Eccles of Payson Elementary. Checking for the judges' approval is #12, Kelsey Benz of Frontier Elementary. The top district speller was Mandy Finley of Rim Country Middle School.
The following students will advance to the Gila County Spelling Bee in Globe, Feb. 28: Mandy Finley, RCMS; Kylea Donaldson, RCMS; Janelle Garrison, JRE; Robyn Mueller, RCMS; Taylor Goss, FES; and alternate Jimmy Behrens, PES.