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Home / News / Education / Riverside County Spelling Bee returns to in-person competition

Riverside County Spelling Bee returns to in-person competition

by City News Service
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Riverside County’s Spelling Bee will feature more than two dozen students from charter, private and public schools, gathered in-person for the first time in three years, turning words into points for a chance to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The 45th countywide Spelling Bee will be held Thursday at the Moreno Valley Conference & Recreation Center, where 27 contestants are slated to take the stage following bees in 2021 and 2022 that were all-virtual.

The 2020 bee was nixed when then-county Public Health Officer Cameron Kaiser declared a Coronavirus public health emergency. The 2021 and 2022 events were held online due to ongoing precautionary measures implemented by the County Office of Education.

Last year, Corona-Norco Unified School District eighth grader Lara Randhawa claimed the county championship title after correctly spelling “cumulocirrus,” which is an upper atmosphere cloud.

Lara, who attends Auburndale Intermediate School, also took top honors in the county’s 2021 virtual bee.

Her family has formed a quasi-dynasty on the academic stage in Riverside County. Aisha Randhawa laid the groundwork for her younger sibling’s success, winning local championship titles in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, paving the way for her to compete nationally in each of those years.

Usually, the top three finishers in the county bee are tapped to represent the county at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is slated for May 28-June 3 at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, according to the county Office of Education.

The county bees began in 1978.

Spellers making a return visit to the Riverside County competition include: Profess Adhikari, River Springs Charter School, grade 6; Antonio Barron, Palo Verde USD, grade 7; Athena Fennell, Banning USD, grade 5; Ashwin Karthik, Mission Vista Academy, grade 7; Dylan Le, Desert Sands USD, grade 7; Sarah Marth, Desert Center USD, grade 5; Eden Vasquez, Beaumont USD, grade 7

The following is full list of spelling bee participants, the asterisk indicates alternates:  

Alvord Unified School District — Alan Castaneda, Lake Hills Elementary School, grade 5; *Carmen Gama, Ysmael Villegas Middle School, grade 8

Banning USD — Athena Fennell, Central Elementary School, grade 5; *Jazmine Morales, Central Elementary School, grade 4

Beaumont USD — Eden Vasquez, San Gorgonio Middle School, grade 8; *Cris Tabaloc, Mountain View Middle School, grade 6

Chammakilawish Pechanga School — Devin Barcello, grade 4

Coachella Valley USD — Alexa Magaña, Saul Martinez Elementary School, grade 6; *Angel Valdez, Westside Elementary School, grade 5

Corona-Norco USD — Avijeet Randhawa, Auburndale Intermediate School, grade 7; *Meghana Ramaraju, Corona Fundamental Intermediate School, grade 8

Desert Adventist Academy — Katy Wang, grade 6

Desert Center USD — Sarah Marth, Eagle Mountain School, grade 5; *Aaliyah Mendoza, Eagle Mountain School, grade 5

Desert Sands USD — Dylan Le, Palm Desert Charter Middle School, grade 8; *Nirvaan Nettimi, George Washington Charter School, grade 4

Hemet USD — Aslan Arambula, Harmony Elementary School, grade 5; *Evelyn Lopez, Hamilton Middle School, grade 8

Lake Elsinore USD — Victoria Michael-Taiwo, Tuscany Hills Elementary School, grade 4; *Suzanne Felise Seneriches Surtida, Earl Warren Elementary School, grade 5

Menifee Union SD — Aden Bunband, Chester W. Morrison Elementary School, grade 5; Elijah Andrew Decano, Southshore Elementary School, grade 4

Mission Vista Academy — Ashwin Karthik, grade 8; *Sabine Gimenez, grade 6

Moreno Valley USD — Kesiena Otega, Honey Hollow Elementary School, grade 5; *Nathan Cunamay, Cloverdale Elementary School, grade 5

Murrieta Valley USD — Lucca Gosney, Tovashal Elementary School, grade 4; *Aiden Kai Manipon, Rail Ranch Elementary School, grade 5

Nuview Union SD — Aryanna Isabelle Dato, Nuview Elementary School, grade 5; *Evelyn Romo, Nuview Elementary School, grade 5

Palm Springs USD — Sandra Villa, Nellie N. Coffman Middle School, grade 6; *Que’Miyah Martinez, Nellie N. Coffman Middle School, grade 7

Palo Verde USD — Antonio Barron, Margaret White Elementary School, grade 8; *Chazz Fulkerson, Ruth Brown Elementary School, grade 8

REACH Leadership STEAM Academy — Emanuel Figueroa, grade 5; *Jazz Boykin, grade 6

River Springs Charter School — Profess Adhikari, River Springs Charter School, grade 6; *Michael Remo, River Springs Charter School, grade 5

Riverside USD — Emogen Soe, Lake Mathews Elementary School, grade 4; *Zayn Khan, Lake Mathews Elementary School, grade 4

Romoland SD — Jeffrey Afedi, Mesa View Elementary School, grade 4; *Ehren Leonor, Boulder Ridge Elementary School, grade 5

Santa Rosa Academy — Wynter Pepper, grade 8; *Parker Buchanan, grade 4

Temecula International Academy — Ezri Jaén Moreno, grade 8; *Aria McDonald, grade 4

Temecula Valley USD — Ryan Scott, Eric Stanley Gardner Middle School, grade 7; *Jack Callahan, Bella Vista Middle School, grade 8

Val Verde USD — Dominic Barraquias, March Middle School, grade 6; *Ameen Jadallah, Tomas Rivera Middle School, grade 8

Van Avery Prep — Izabella Diaz, Van Avery Prep, grade 6; *Robert Greenlee, Van Avery Prep, grade 8

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