Spelling bee winners advance to state competition

Four local students will compete at the state level after winning the Santa Barbara County Spelling Bee, which was held Thursday at the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

Fiona Zhou, a sixth-grader at Brandon School in the Goleta Union School District, took first place in the elementary division by correctly spelling “pasteurize.” Dane Polchin, a sixth-grader at Roosevelt School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, took second place with “restaurant.” Third place went to Loki Dunbar, a sixth-grader at Laguna Blanca School. His winning word was “gossamer.”

In the junior high division, Victoria Chen, an eighth-grader from Goleta Valley Junior High in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, took first place by correctly spelling “idolatrous.” Victoria was also the first place winner in last year’s junior high division. Second place went to Katherine Ball, a ninth-grader from Laguna Blanca School. Her winning word was “biscuit.” Third place was won by Owen Hennessee, a seventh-grader from Santa Barbara Junior High in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. His winning word was “dechlorinate.” The two top winners in each division will proceed to the state level.

“We congratulate the students for their diligence and tenacity in preparing for this competition. We recognize the courage it takes to compete, and are proud of each student who participated at their school and at the County Bee,” said County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido. “We are grateful for the many volunteers, partners, parents, and teachers who supported these students.”

Special thanks go to Masonic Lodge #192, Women’s Service Club of Goleta, and Town and Country Women’s Club for their donations.

The 2020 Elementary State Spelling Bee, for grades 4 through 6, will be held May 9 at the San Joaquin County Office of Education in Stockton. The 2020 State Junior High Spelling Bee, for grades 7 through 9, will be held May 2 at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael.

More information is available from Rose Koller of the Santa Barbara County Education Office at (805) 964-4710, ext. 5222.