Pina County Spelling Bee

Pinal County School Office Education Service Agency Director Joel Villegas, right, hands out awards during the 57th annual Pinal County Spelling Bee Friday Feb. 14, 2020 at J.O. Combs Performing Arts Center in San Tan Valley. Winners, from left, are Delia Koschmann, third place, of Leading Edge Charter School in Maricopa; Ava Lawrence, second, of Legacy Traditional School in Queen Creek; and winner Adam Rasmussen of Red Rock Elementary School.

SAN TAN VALLEY — By correctly spelling the word “executive,” Red Rock Elementary School seventh-grader Adam Rasmussen has won the 57th annual Pinal County Spelling Bee.

Rasmussen out-spelled more than 65 students from 21 Pinal County schools to win the spot of top speller.

The annual spell-off competition was held Friday in the J.O. Combs Performing Arts Center.

It was open to the top spellers from public, charter and private schools as well as home-schooled students.

Pinal County Speillng Bee

Adam Rasmussen of Red Rock Elementary School reacts after winning the Pinal County 57th annual Spelling Bee Friday Feb. 14, 2020 at J.O. Combs Performing Arts Center in San Tan Valley.

Rasmussen won Friday’s competition after six rounds of spelling. Three additional rounds were held to determine the second- and third-place winners.

Ava Lawrence, a seventh grader at Legacy Traditional School in Queen Creek, won the second-place spot. Delia Koschmann, a student at Leading Edge Charter School in Maricopa, placed third.

As the Pinal County spelling champion, Rasmussen will head to the Arizona State Spelling Bee on March 20.

The winner of the state spelling bee will continue on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Participating in the Pinal County spelling bee were students from:

  • American Leadership Academy in San Tan Valley
  • Apache Junction Unified School District
  • Casa Grande Elementary School District
  • Eduprize Charter School in Queen Creek
  • Florence Unified School District
  • Imagine Charter School K-5 in Coolidge
  • Imagine Preparatory in Coolidge
  • J.O. Combs Unified School District
  • Leading Edge Charter School in Maricopa
  • Leading Edge Charter School, Mountain View campus
  • Legacy Traditional School, with students from Casa Grande and Queen Creek
  • Maricopa Unified School District
  • Mary C. O’Brien Elementary School
  • Oracle School District
  • Picacho Elementary School
  • Ray Unified School District
  • Red Rock Elementary School
  • Sequoia Pathway Academy
  • Stanfield Elementary School
  • Superior Unified School District
  • Toltec Elementary School District

Spelling bee judges were Mark Duplissis, assistant superintendent at J.O. Combs; Krista Anderson, Apache Junction Unified superintendent; and Sylvia Olmos, education specialist.

Arlynn Godinez was the pronouncer for the event.

Each year, spelling bee competition begins at the local level, with students in public, private and charter elementary and middle schools, as well as those who are homeschooled, participating in school, then district competitions in January.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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