On Thursday, 23 students from every school in the county vied for the chance to represent Gila County at the Arizona State Spelling Bee at the 2014 Gila County Spelling Bee held in Miami High School’s auditorium.
Kendra Martinez, an eighth-grader at High Desert Middle School in Globe, snatched the winning spot, while two students from the Payson area followed closely behind.
Alyssa Miller, a sixth-grader at Payson Community Christian School, took second place, followed by third-place winner Brett Beckham, a seventh-grader from Rim Country Middle School.
Martinez will represent Gila County at the Arizona Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 29 at the Eight/Arizona PBS Studio located at 555 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix. The winner of the state spelling bee will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in late May 2014.
This year’s Gila County Spelling Bee lasted 10 rounds before a champion finally emerged. They came from Copper Rim Elementary School and High Desert Middle School in Globe, Winkelman Elementary and Leonor Hambly Middle School in Hayden-Winkelman, Lee Kornegay Intermediate School in Miami, Payson Community Christian School and Rim Country Middle School in Payson, Pine-Strawberry School, Young Public School, and Tonto Basin School District.
Gila County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Linda O’Dell, would like to thank all the students, parents, teachers and administrators for their support of Gila County’s spellers. She would also like to extend a special thank-you to the volunteer pronouncers and judges. This year’s pronouncers were Mrs. Claudia Armer and Mrs. Lynn Haak.
Serving as this year’s judges were Gila County Treasurer Debi Savage, Gila County Attorney Bradley Beauchamp, and Gila County Clerk of the Court Anita Escobedo.
The Gila County Spelling Bee is an annual event sponsored by the Gila County School Superintendent’s Office.