Sonoma County Office of Education

Student Events

2006 State Elementary Spelling Championship

Sixty-one of the state’s top elementary school spellers met in Northern California on Saturday, May 20 to compete for the California State Elementary Spelling Championship. These students, representing 32 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). Six fourth-graders, 22 fifth-graders, and 33 sixth-graders participated.

This year’s spelling competition was completed in 18 rounds. Shasta County’s Rachel Sumption, a sixth-grader from Grant Elementary School, won the top prize by correctly spelling parietal, then myopic. She received a trophy, $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond, and personalized certificate of acknowledgement from Governor Schwarzenegger. Rachel’s school will receive a wall clock engraved with her name and recognition as this year’s top elementary speller.

Santa Barbara County’s Kelvin Noronha, a sixth-grader from Mountain View Elementary School, earned the second place trophy and a $500 U.S. Savings Bond. Sixth-grader Francesca Honey, from Sonoma County’s Grant Elementary School, was awarded third place and a $250 U.S. Savings Bond. Both of these winners received personalized certificates of acknowledgement from Governor Schwarzenegger.

Fourth- through sixth-place winners each received a trophy and a $100 savings bond. Kendall Tani, a sixth-grader from Mammoth Middle School in Mono County, placed fourth; Christopher Hoffman, a sixth-grader at Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Nevada County, placed fifth; and sixth-grader Cyrus Yerxa, from George T. Egling Middle School in Colusa County, earned sixth place. These students each received a trophy, $100 Savings Bond, and personalized certificate of acknowledgement from Governor Schwarzenegger.

The competition was held at Person Theatre on the Sonoma State University campus in Rohnert Park. The event was co-sponsored by Safari West Wildlife Foundation and featured safari props and decorations—tiki torches, a grass hut, drums, and jungle sounds and scenery. A virtual tour of Safari West Wildlife Preserve in Santa Rosa and a live presentation featuring a python, bearded dragon, and cockatoo from the preserve were also included. Children’s book author Milton Rieback and illustrator Cheryl Crowley presented each student with an autographed copy of their book, The Adventures of Webb Ellis, which is a story about a rhinoceros.

Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools Carl Wong welcomed participants and guests to the event and showed a video greeting from Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. Anne Harris-Gebb, a teacher at Jefferson School in Cloverdale, served as spell master (pictured above, right). The competition was judged by Trish Healey, Jefferson School teacher; John Graham, Woodland Star Charter School teacher; Kimberly Robertson, Safari West Wildlife Foundation animal registrar; and Allen Haley, Office Depot education account manager. All spellers received participation ribbons, souvenirs, and certificates of participation signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante.