How Do You Spell A-W-E-S-O-M-E?


SESC Press Release

On March 9 at Grand County High School in Moab, students from throughout the region participated in the Southeast Education Service Center regional spelling bee. All the contestants prepared for this year’s bee by studying thousands of words, hoping to take top honors at the region competition. The top three district spellers, plus Pinnacle Academy, in grades fourth through eighth advanced to the region bee from competitions held in their local schools and districts earlier this year.

Luke Jeppesen, an eighth grader from Albert R. Lyman (ARL) Middle School in the San Juan School District, earned the designation as top speller after a competitive 12 rounds in the annual Southeast Education Service Center Regional Spelling Bee. As the winner, Jeppesen will get to compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland. Jeppesen began the bee correctly spelling words such as gotcha, spindle, sailage, docket, collie and pitiful. Some of his other words included existence, hipsterism, merchandise and redemption.

Second place speller Cadi Heaton, a seventh grader from Mont Harmon Middle School, gave Jeppesen a run for his money as they went head to head for four rounds. Heaton misspelled “irritability.” At this point, Jeppesen correctly spelled “posterity” and finally the championship word “caboodle.”

Jaivery Pitchforth from San Rafael Middle School, returning for her second year to the regional bee, had a great showing with a third-place finish.

Sponsored by the Southeast Education Service Center, this year’s region bee was held at Grand County High School. Thanks to Jessie Magleby from Grand County Public Library, who was this year’s pronouncer. Johnna Boyack and JoLynn Torgerson served as judges. The region bee is a preliminary competition in the Scripps National Spelling Bee held during Bee Week May 28–June 2, 2023 in National Harbor, Maryland.

As first place speller, Jeppesen received a trophy and an all-expense paid trip for him and a chaperone to attend the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee, The Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, one year of Britannica Online Premium and one year of Merriam-Webster unabridged online subscriptions. Second and third place spellers received a trophy, and all other participants received a plaque of recognition for making it to the regional bee.

Competing from Carbon District were Everett Ellsworth, a seventh grader from Mont Harmon Middle; Cadi Heaton, a seventh grader from Mont Harmon Middle; and Evie Bates Wood, a fifth grader from Castle Heights Elementary.

Emery District sent Jaivery Pitchforth, a sixth grader from San Rafael Middle School; Raegan Behling, a fifth grader from Ferron Elementary; and Jade Weyant, an eighth grader from Canyon View Middle School.

Spellers for Grand District include Flint Lugers, a seventh grader from from Margaret L. Hopkin Middle School, along with Coral Cameron, sixth grade, and Nolan Knutson, a fifth grader from HMK Elementary.

San Juan District spellers were Olive Harris, a fifth grader at Blanding Elementary; Hyrum Vess, a seventh grade at Monticello High School; and Luke Jeppesen, an eighth grader at ARL.

The Pinnacle Canyon Academy participants were Colton Day, fifth grade; Carter Bias, eighth grade; and Kaiden Broadbent, seventh grade.

The Scripps Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational promotion, administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company. The Bee’s purpose is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.

We would like to thank the schools, parents and administrators for supporting our regional bee. We would also like to thank Todd Thompson, Principal of Grand County High School, who served as MC along with presenting the awards to the students. Congratulations to all those spellers who competed, and best wishes to Jeppesen as he competes in the National Spelling Bee this year!

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