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    Santa Barbara County Spelling Bee Champions

    Local students have earned their spot at the California State Spelling Bee after emerging victorious at the Santa Barbara County Spelling Bee on Thursday, March 9, 2023, at the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO)

    57 4th-8th grade students participated in the annual spelling competition organized by the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Participants represented the top spellers from elementary and junior high schools across Santa Barbara County. 

    At the elementary school level, Carpinteria Middle School 6th grader Emiliano Jimenez took first place with the winning word of “guillotine.” Second place went to Kellogg Elementary School 4th grader Kelly Chen for “deciduous.” Vieja Valley Elementary School 6th grader Jacob Mintz finished in third with the word “oxidize.” As first and second-place winners, Emiliano Jimenez and Kelly Chen are invited to compete in the elementary division of the California State Spelling Bee on Saturday, May 13 in Stockton at the San Joaquin County Office of Education. 

    Jimenez said of the first-place win: “I felt really proud of myself.”

    In the junior high division, St. Raphael Catholic School 8th grader Luke Johansen  brought home the first-place title with the word “ecstasy.” The second-place winner, who requested to remain anonymous, earned their place with the word “unappeasable.” Jonata Middle School 8th grader Andrew Kozlov rounded out the podium in third place, spelling “vaporize” correctly. Luke Johansen and the second-place winner qualified to advance to the California State Spelling Bee to compete in the junior high division of the competition.

    Johansen shared his surprise over winning by telling organizers: “I was shocked. I did not know I would do that well.”

    “We are so proud of the students who diligently prepared to compete in this year’s Spelling Bee,” said County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Salcido. “They demonstrate a strong commitment to excelling in their schoolwork, and sheer courage to show up and participate in a public competition. A big thank you to the many teachers, schools, volunteers, and parents who support this terrific event.”

    The Santa Barbara County Spelling Bee is a program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.



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