Ryan Benz and Danny Chera were the winners of the Merced County Spelling Bees last week. Benz, a sixth-grader from Atwater's Peggy Heller Elementary School, finished first in the elementary spelling bee after correctly spelling the word "ostracize." Chera, a seventh-grader at Los Banos Junior High, was first in the junior high bee for the word "iridescence"
The events included 82 students from 43 elementary schools and 30 students from 15 junior high schools.
First and second place winners from both competitions will represent Merced County at the state championships.
In the elementary contest, second place went to Eloisa Encenzo, a sixth-grader at Peggy Heller, and third place was awarded to Kiara Gilardi, a sixth-grader at Charleston Elementary School in Los Banos. Second place in the junior high contest was given to Benjamin Pace, an eighth-grader at Cruickshank Middle School, and third place went to Erika Avina, an eighth-grader at Delhi's Harmony Elementary School.
The 2010 California State Junior High Spelling Bee championship is Saturday, May 14 at the Marin County Office of Education in San Rafael. The state elementary spelling bee championship is Saturday, April 16 at the San Joaquin County Office of Education in Stockton.