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Four local students have earned their spot at the California State Spelling Bee after emerging victorious at the Santa Barbara County Spelling Bee on Wednesday, March 15, 2022 at the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO). The spelling bee marks the first in-person event at SBCEO since the pandemic began in 2020. 

A total of 37 4th-9th grade students participated in the annual spelling competition, organized by the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Participants represented the top spellers from elementary and junior high schools across Santa Barbara County. 

At the elementary school level, Vieja Valley 6th grader Tristan Fagan-Gomez took first place with the winning word of “parliamentary.” Second place went to Hope Elementary 6th grader Halo Duncan for “congeniality.” Monte Vista Elementary 6th grader Amelia Blouin finished in third with the word “oxidation.” As first and second place winners, Tristan Fagan-Gomez and Halo Duncan are invited to compete in the elementary division of the California State Spelling Bee on Saturday, May 14 in Stockton at the San Joaquin County Office of Education.

Tristan Fagan-Gomez said of the first-place win: “When I was first going into my school spelling bee, I never thought I would get this far. But since I won, I am starting to recognize my potential, and I’m looking forward to the next one!”

In the junior high division, Jonata Middle School 8th grader Jack Campbell spelled a total of 26 words correctly, with “gyrate” bringing him home the first-place title. St. Louis de Montfort 7th grader John Sevcik took second with the word “coroner.” Family Partnership Charter School 7th grader Evelyn Nannie rounded out the podium in third place, spelling “ecru” correctly. Jack Campbell and John Sevcik will also advance to the California State Spelling Bee to compete in the junior high division of the competition. Campbell shared his surprise over winning by telling organizers: “It means a lot. I never thought I’d make it this far.”  

“We are so proud of each and every student here today,” said County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Susan Salcido. “It takes courage to compete publicly, and we are truly impressed with the level of engagement, preparation, and perseverance our competitors have shown. We also want to express our gratitude to the many schools, volunteers, and parents who participated in ways big and small.”

The Santa Barbara County Spelling Bee is a program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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