State’s top spellers to compete in AEF Arizona Spelling Bee


When they’re not studying genealogy, practicing the saxophone, or running cross country, the state’s top 27 spellers, ranging in age from 9-14, are studying and practicing for the 2016 AEF Arizona Spelling Bee.

This year’s annual AEF Arizona Spelling Bee will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, in the Arizona PBS studios on the downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University.

2016 Spelling Bee Competitors include:

  • Apache County: Kameryn Greer, St. Johns Middle School, St. Johns
  • Cochise County: Ethan Johnson, Center for Academic Success, Sierra Vista
  • Coconino County: Katrina Vollmer, San Francisco de Asis Catholic School, Flagstaff
  • Gila County: Chris Provido, High Desert Middle School, Globe
  • Graham County: Callie Konopnicki, Safford Middle School, Safford
  • Greenlee County: Keanna Cortez, Fairbanks Middle School, Morenci
  • La Paz County: Adianne Alamban, Wallace Junior High School, Parker
  • Maricopa Region 1: Tommy LaPenna, Kyrene Middle School, Tempe
  • Maricopa Region 1: Jackson Springer, Barbara Bush Elementary School, Mesa
  • Maricopa Region 2: Keshav Nandakumar, Sierra Verde STEM Academy, Glendale
  • Maricopa Region 2: Nicola Ferguson, Sunrise Middle School, Scottsdale
  • Maricopa Region 3: Amutha Rajasundaram, Madison Heights Elementary, Phoenix
  • Maricopa Region 3: Lindsay Davis, Vista del Sur Accelerated Academy, Laveen
  • Maricopa Region 4: Jaidyn Mallon, Lookout Mountain Elementary, Phoenix
  • Maricopa Region 4: Michael Davey, Parkridge Elementary School, Peoria
  • Maricopa Region 5: Chelsea Lee, Westpoint Elementary School, Surprise
  • Maricopa Region 5: Tatiana Asadourian, Desert Oasis Elementary School, Surprise
  • Maricopa Region 6: Michael Chen, BASIS Chandler, Chandler
  • Maricopa Region 6: Amber Kassisieh, South Valley Junior High School, Gilbert
  • Mohave County: Johan Perea, Havasupai Elementary School, Lake Havasu City
  • Navajo County: Jett Jue, Bonnie Brennan Elementary, Winslow
  • Pima County 1: Sai Konkimalla, BASIS Oro Valley, Oro Valley
  • Pima County 2: Matthew Glasshoff, Marana Middle School, Marana
  • Pinal County: Freya Abraham, Legacy Traditional School, Maricopa
  • Santa Cruz County: Grecia Solorio, Mary L. Welty Elementary School, Nogales
  • Yavapai County: Tanner Dodt, Heritage Christian Home Educators, Prescott Valley
  • Yuma County: Yazan Abdella, Crane Middle School, Yuma

This is the 18th year the event is being sponsored by the Arizona Educational Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes excellence in education through diverse statewide programs and community partnerships throughout the year.

The bee is open to the public and will begin at 1 p.m. in the Arizona PBS studios on the sixth floor of the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication located on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, 555 N. Central Ave. Thirteen counties are each represented by one contestant. Pima County is represented by two and Maricopa County is represented by 12.

The road leading up to the AEF Arizona Spelling Bee began in December when schools throughout the state held qualifying bees. Winners progressed to district bees in January and then county and regional bees in February, according to a press release.

The winner of the AEF Arizona Spelling Bee will represent Arizona in the 89th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee from May 25 – May 26 outside Washington, D.C. in National Harbor, Maryland. Other prizes for the winner and finalists are noted here.

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