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Third-grader wins county spelling bee

2019 spelling bee winners. (Courtesy)

2019 spelling bee winners. (Courtesy)

Home-schooled third-grader Aliyah Alpert emerged as champion on the 252nd word in the 36th round during the 73rd annual Yavapai County Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 9, in the historic auditorium at Prescott Mile High Middle School.

The diminutive victor won by spelling “Romaji” — a method of writing Japanese in Roman characters.

“Miss Alpert, an extremely composed, articulate, confident and poised young lady, was the 2018 Runner Up, when she was a second-grader. We know she will do extremely well when she represents all of Yavapai County at the Arizona State Spelling Bee in the studios of KAET-TV at Arizona State University on Saturday, March 23,” said Tim Carter, Yavapai County Superintendent of Schools, who served as moderator for the competition.

The state winner goes to nationals in Washington, D.C., later in the spring.

Alpert battled through the last six rounds with runner up Rebecca Bond, a seventh-grader from Prescott Homeschoolers, for first place. Two other outstanding spellers finished third and fourth respectively. They were sixth-grader Logan Dartt of Humboldt Elementary School; and Lazor Lanson, an eighth-grader from Sedona Charter School.

“Congratulations to all. Yavapai County is proud of the efforts these young spellers put forward,” Carter said, explaining that winners receive engraved plaques and checks totaling $750 that ranged from $300 to $100, based on place in the bee. All students received medals for competing.

Thirty-six spellers had qualified earlier for the county competition by winning their local school-based bee. The county bee is effectively a “Tournament of Champions,” with students coming from school districts, charter schools, private schools, and from the home schooling community.

Among the words that proved difficult for competitors were these: charpoy, bromeliad, guillotine, misogynist, egregious, poltergeist, ostentatious, ergonomic, colloquial, juggernaut, gristle, and triumvirate.

“As a whole, spellers did an honorable job and their schools and families should be proud of them,” Carter said.

BMO Harris Bank, with local branches in Prescott, Prescott Valley, and Sedona, has provided significant funding to support the Yavapai County Spelling Bee for more than a decade. BMO Harris is a family-oriented business that has a long history of supporting educational events in local communities.

“We greatly appreciate the bank’s ongoing commitment to our young people and their education,” Carter said. He also thanked Jenn Nelson, spelling bee coordinator; Dr. Kristen Rex, who served as “pronouncer”; and three veteran judges — Ray Newton, professor emeritus, Northern Arizona University; Tara O’Neill, education faculty, Yavapai College; and Karen Otis, community Involvement coordinator, Drake Cement.

The Yavapai County Education Service Agency (YCESA) sponsored the 73rd annual Yavapai County Spelling Bee in conjunction with Scripps National Spelling Bee and a corporate sponsor. The Yavapai County Spelling Bee is the oldest in Arizona.

The event was originally scheduled for Feb. 23, but was rescheduled because of adverse weather conditions.


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