County students will soon have a chance to show off their vocabulary skills in the annual spelling bee.
The San Benito County Office of Education, which has sponsored the spelling bee for 19 years, will hold preliminary rounds of competition for elementary and junior high students to progress to county and state championships.
All 4th through 6th-grade and 7th through 8th-grade students currently enrolled in public, private or home school in the county can participate in the preliminary rounds of competition.
The spelling bees will consist of 50-word written spelling tests. Some words will be chosen from a study sheet, while others will be randomly selected from the dictionary. Students are asked to bring two pencils, an eraser and a signed permission slip.
The preliminary rounds for the two divisions will take place on separate days. The elementary division takes place Jan. 24, and the junior high division takes place Jan. 25. Both are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at Sunnyslope School, 1475 Memorial Drive, in Hollister.
Spelling Bee Coordinator Kim O’Connor said the top 25 students in each division will be notified three or four days after the preliminary rounds. The county championship takes place two weeks later. The elementary division will be on Feb. 7, and the junior high division will be on Feb. 8. Students will spell words out loud through a microphone.
“They get one chance to spell the word out loud,” O’Connor said. “If they get it wrong, they’re out.”
First-place county winners in each division will receive a $100 Amazon gift card donated by the Rotary Club of Hollister.
“It’s fun to have something like an academic competition for our kids to do,” O’Connor said. “I wish there were more like them.”
First- and second-place county champions in each division will progress on to represent the county at state-level spelling bees.
County Superintendent Krystal Lomanto said the county office of education is excited to promote the spelling bees.
“We’re excited in the county office to be able to offer this competition,” Lomanto said. “We’re excited to promote that. It’s fun to see (students) compete at the state level.”
The state-level spelling bees will take place in separate locations. The elementary division state championship will be held in Stockton on May 13. The junior high division state championship will be held in San Rafael on May 6.