Rim Country Middle School student Jacqueline Oesterblad is one of 27 Arizona finalists who will compete at the state spelling bee March 31, after spelling all her words correctly this past week at the Gila County Spelling Bee.
Spelling bee contestants ranged in age from kindergarten to eighth grade.
In years past, several students have proudly represented the Rim Country at state and regional spelling bees. Stephanie Hilliard won with "cryology" (the study of the properties of snow, ice and frozen ground) in 2000 at the county level. Ben Paric, a fifth-grader, spelled "deuce" in 2002 for the county win.
If Oesterblad wins the state competition in March, she will receive $500 cash, a $100 savings bond, Webster's Third New International Dictionary and a 60-volume set, "Great Books of the Western World." Plus, she and her escort will receive an all-expense paid trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.