Ernesto Tobias, a seventh-grader from Rim Country Middle School, finished third in the Gila County spelling bee Feb. 6.
Two eighth-graders from Globe took spots one and two. Irene Pitterle from the private Holy Angels School will go to the state spelling bee in March. Regina Levario from Destiny School finished second in the county bee.
Tobias spelled “sphinx” correctly to win the Payson Unified School District spelling bee on Jan 20. Jessica Toesning, a Julia Randall fourth-grader, took second place in a quick final round.
Fifth-grader Dakota Certain represented Pine at the county spelling bee, and fourth-grader Joshua O’Connor, who won his grade level, served as Pine’s alternate.
In Payson, each elementary and the middle school held bees. The 12 best students from each school competed at the district bee.
Other district finalists included John Buskirk, Rim Country Middle School; Ben Myer, RCMS; Briseida Perez, JRE; Lilian Delacruz, Payson Elementary School; Jaycie Shields, Frontier Elementary School, traveled to Globe as Payson’s alternate.
Payson schools Superintendent Casey O’Brien was this year’s pronouncer. Zane Grey Kiwanis, Payson Rotary Club and the Payson Optimists Club sponsored three judges and awards for all 48 spellers in Payson. Our judges were Kathe Ketchem, Marty Stuckenberg and Joan Young.