Sonoma County Office of Education

Student Events

2005 State Elementary Spelling Championship

Fifty-five of the state’s top elementary school spellers met in Northern California on Saturday, May 14 to compete for the California State Elementary Spelling Championship. These students, representing 30 California counties, had already won school, region, and county spelling bees. Each county’s first and second place spellers were eligible to compete for the championship title in this state event coordinated by the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE). Three fourth-graders, 16 fifth-graders, and 36 sixth-graders participated. The competition was held on the Sonoma State University campus in Rohnert Park.

Dr. Carl Wong, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools, welcomed participants and guests to the event, then showed a video greeting from Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. The Charles M. Schulz Museum, which is celebrating the 55th anniversary of the Peanuts comic strip, was also featured in the video welcome and provided souvenir gift bags for participating students. The spellers were announced during a "virtual tour" of the Museum as their names were read by Jean (Mrs. Charles) Schulz, spell-master Anne Harris-Gebb (pictured above, right), lead judge Trish Healey, judge Christina Dupont, and spelling bee coordinator Connie Anderson from locations around the Museum.

All spellers received participation ribbons, souvenirs, and certificates of participation signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante.

This year’s spelling competition was completed in 12 rounds. Maheen Rana, a sixth-grader from Bidwell Elementary School in Tehama County who placed first in last year’s state competition, won the top prize by correctly spelling modicum, then parlous. She received a trophy and a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond.

Fresno County’s Michael Varney, a sixth-grader from Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, earned the second place trophy and a $500 savings bond. Fifth-grader Tanvi Kamath, from Catheryn Gates Elementary School in Placer County, was awarded third place and received a $250 savings bond.

Fourth- through sixth-place winners each received a trophy and a $100 savings bond. Amanda Autry, a sixth-grader from Dan O. Root Elementary School in Solano County, placed fourth; Rita Leifson, a sixth-grader from Boulder Creek Elementary School in Santa Cruz County, placed fifth; and sixth-grader Megan Kallstrom, from San Domenico School in Marin County, earned sixth place. ABC7 News anchor Eric Thomas presented the awards to the winning spellers.

Serving in the important capacity of spelling bee judges were: Trish Healey (lead judge), Jefferson School teacher; Christina Dupont, Yulupa School teacher; Dr. Don Russell, assistant superintendent for the Sonoma County Office of Education; and Eric Thomas, ABC7 News anchor.