PVSchools Top Spellers

Jaime Prendiville, a sixth-grade student at Desert Springs Preparatory Elementary School, and Manvik Malreddy, a sixth-grade student at Fireside Elementary School, both part of the Paradise Valley Unified School District, are finalists competing in the State Spelling Bee.

They are just like any other kids. They play video games, hang out with friends, sing, dance and participate in sports. But when they are not doing those things, the state’s top 27 spellers — ranging from grades 3 through 8 — are studying and practicing for the 2021 Arizona State Spelling Bee.

The road leading up to the Arizona Spelling Bee began in December when schools throughout the state held qualifying bees. All Arizona schools including public, private, charter and homeschools are eligible to compete. Winners progressed to district bees in January and then county and regional Bees in February.

The student who wins the State Spelling Bee, March 20, goes on to represent Arizona as the official State Champion in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Arizona has one of the largest Spelling Bee participation rates in the nation, with close to 300,000 students competing each year from public, private, charter, and homeschools statewide. This year, The Arizona Educational Foundation, who is the official State Spelling Bee coordinator, is the recipient of a $18,700 grant from Thunderbirds Charities to support the Arizona State Spelling Bee.

“Managing a program of this magnitude is no small feat,” said Matthew Feller, Arizona State Bee director. “Having support from Thunderbirds Charities will go a long way in ensuring students have an exceptional experience.”

“We are excited to support AEF’s Arizona State Spelling Bee,” said Tim Woods, Thunderbirds Charities President. “The goal of this program is to improve students verbal and written literacy skills and build self-confidence. We are proud to be part of this ongoing tradition in the State of Arizona.”

This year, out of an abundance of caution, the Arizona State Bee is a virtual event using an online competition platform developed by the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Last year, Scripps canceled the National Bee, which is annually held in May of each year in Washington D.C., because of COVID. This year Scripps has announced the National Bee will occur virtually with 10 top competitors from the virtual competition being invited to an exclusive in-person final competition at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Florida.

AEF will announce the AEF Arizona Spelling Bee Champion following the competition today. The exact time of the announcement time will vary depending on the length of the bee.

This is the 23rd year the event is being coordinated by the Arizona Educational Foundation. For more details about the AEF Spelling Bee program, visit azedfoundation.org/spelling-bee.

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