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Santa Barbara County Spelling Bee Winners Advance to State Competitions

The elementary school winners in Thursday’s Santa Barbara County Spelling Bee are, from left, Vincent Vestergaard of Laguna Blanca School, first place; Matthew Helkey of Santa Barbara Charter Home-Based Partnership, second place; and Emily Vesper of Montessori Center School, third place.

The elementary school winners in Thursday’s Santa Barbara County Spelling Bee are, from left, Vincent Vestergaard of Laguna Blanca School, first place; Matthew Helkey of Santa Barbara Charter Home-Based Partnership, second place; and Emily Vesper of Montessori Center School, third place.  (Santa Barbara County Education Office photo)

By Dave Bemis for the Santa Barbara County Education Office |

Four local students have won the right to compete at the state level after coming out on top at the Santa Barbara County Spelling Bee, which was held Thursday at the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

Vincent Vestergaard, a sixth-grader at Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara, took first place in the elementary division by correctly spelling “gossamer.”

Matthew Helkey, a sixth-grader at Santa Barbara Charter Home-Based Partnership, took second place with “abruptly.”

Third place went to Emily Vesper, a sixth-grader at Montessori Center School in Goleta. Her winning word was “cuckoo.”

In the junior high division, first place went to Alexander Jacob, an eighth-grader at Vandenberg Middle School, whose winning word was “paradisiacal.”

Second place went to Rafael Saavedra, a ninth-grader at Dos Pueblos High School, who correctly spelled “denizen.”

spelling winners
The junior high school Spelling Bee winners are, from left, Alexander Jacob of Vandenberg Middle School, first place; Rafael Saavedra of Dos Pueblos High School, second place; and Jackson Hurley of Laguna Blanca School, third place. (Santa Barbara County Education Office photo)

Third place was won by Jackson Hurley, an eighth-grader at Laguna Blanca School, whose winning word was “hippology.”

The two top winners in each division will proceed to the state level.

Thanks to the Masons Lodge, the Women’s Service Club of Goleta, and Town and Country Women’s Club for their donations. For the second year in a row, an anonymous donor donated $1,000, which was divided up among first-, second- and third-place winners in the elementary and junior high school bees.

The 2014 Elementary State Spelling Bee, for grades 4 through 6, will be held April 26 at the San Joaquin County Office of Education in Stockton. The 2014 State Junior High Spelling Bee, for grades 7 through 9, will be held May 3 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 x5222.

— Dave Bemis is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.




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