The 2021 Santa Cruz County Spelling Bee was held the morning of Wednesday, February 17th with a twist. Due to the pandemic, the annual competition, which consists of 20 of the County’s best Elementary and Middle School aged children, was held 100% online without judges. The Bee started off with a welcome message from Santa Cruz County School Superintendent Alfredo I. Velasquez and followed with an oath and an explanation of the Arizona State Spelling Bee Scripps template guidelines. The Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office Spelling Bee Coordinators, Marisol Chiquete-Bolaina, Julie Ulrich, and Adrian Chamberlain monitored the students as they went through the questions online. Once all contestants had finished, First Place went to 6th grader Michael Pentland from Desert Shadows Middle School and Runner Up went to 5th grader Memphis Parks from San Cayetano.
On Friday, February 19th, there was a drive through ceremony at the 1904 Courthouse on Morley Avenue to honor all of the participants. With banners, balloons and a cheering section, students rode with their families to take pictures and receive their gifts. All contestants were given a 7” tablet, and a backpack filled with school supplies with the winner and runner up receiving 8” tablets. The drive-thru event was attended by students, parents, and staff who enjoyed a fun-filled day of suspense, and surprises. Special thanks to our sponsors for their continued support: Santa Cruz County Attorney George Silva, Treasurer Elizabeth Gutfahr, Jovanna Lopez a State Farm Insurance Agent, Rio Rico Rotary Club, and the Santa Cruz County Superintendent’s staff for their help.
Due to the pandemic, this year’s Spelling Bee was very different from previous years. contestants, parents, teachers, judges, and school staff to participate in the event as they have in previous years. The Santa Cruz County Superintendent’s Office hosted the 2021 Spelling Bee virtually. The event was held on Friday, February 12, 2021. The event coordinators were Marisol Chiquete-Bolaina, Adrian Chamberlain, and Julie Ulrich.
Contestants participated in the Spelling Bee from the comfort of their homes. The Santa Cruz County Superintendent’s Office staff proctored the Spelling Bee from their office. They did not have any judges participate this year, as they had in past years. There was a total of 20 participants who participated in the virtual Spelling Bee. They used the template Arizona State Spelling Bee Scripps, where contestants were provided with the word to spell, given alternate pronunciations, definitions, the word was used in parts of speech, and in a sentence.
After the virtual event, students and parents were invited to attend a drive-thru ceremony at the
Old Court House on Morley Avenue. The parking lot and outside of the Old Court House were beautifully decorated with a banner displayed congratulating the contestants. A table was set up with the prizes for the contestants, and winners of the Spelling Bee. Paper flowers, paper bees along with yellow and black balloons were beautifully displayed across the parking lot. The Spelling Bee began with a warm welcome by the Santa Cruz County Superintendent Alfredo I. Velasquez. Adrian Chamberlain was the pronouncer promoting parents and contestants who stayed in their vehicles to pick up their prizes, which were individually handed by the superintendent. All contestants were given a 7” inch tablet, and a backpack filled with school supplies. The winner and runner-up of the Spelling Bee Contest received an 8” inch tablet.
The drive-thru event was attended by students, parents, and staff who enjoyed a fun-filled day of suspense, and surprises. Special thanks to our sponsors for their continued support: the Santa Cruz County Attorney George Silva, Treasurer Elizabeth Gutfahr, Jovanna Lopez a State Farm Insurance Agent, Rio Rico Rotary Club, and the Santa Cruz County Superintendent’s staff for their help. This year’s 2021 Santa Cruz County Spelling Bee Champion was 6th grader Michael Pentland from NUSD#1. The runner-up was 5th grader Memphis Parks from SCVUSD #35.