Elementary, junior high students in Merced County to compete in spelling bees Tuesday

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The Merced County Spelling Bees are back on this year, and both the elementary and junior high spelling bees are scheduled for Tuesday, according to a press release from the Merced County Office of Education.

“We are ecstatic to welcome students back to an in-person event — the first in-person student event in nearly two years,” said Stacie Arancibia, the Merced County Office of Education events manager.

Students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades spread across 36 elementary schools will compete on Dec. 7 at 9 a.m., while students in seventh and eighth grades from 11 junior high schools will compete Dec. 8 at 9 a.m.

Michelle Symes, the district support services director at the Merced County Office of Education, is the wordmaster for the elementary competition, while Laura Andrews, state and federal program coordinator for the Merced County Office of Education, will be the wordmaster for the junior high competition.

Students were encouraged to study the dictionary to learn new words, as well as read magazines, books and newspapers. Some words and definitions were given to students in advance. Students who win first and second place in the elementary competition will advance to the state championship.

School officials organizing the spelling bees said in a press release there will be safety and health precautions in place, including mask requirements for all students and adults at the bees. This includes livestreaming the competitions so people can watch remotely.

“We are excited to welcome students back to an in-person event and we are taking every precaution to provide a safe and clean environment,” said Steve Tietjen, Merced County superintendent of schools. “I am glad that MCOE can provide a livestream of the Merced County Spelling Bees through several platforms so families, friends and the community can enjoy the event.”

The spelling bees will be streamed at facebook.com/mercedcoe, youtube.com.metvmerced, mcoe.org/metv, Comcast Channel 99 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 97. For more information, call Stacie Arancibia at 209-381-5910.