With very light snow flurries outside, the 77th Annual Yavapai County Spelling Bee was held on the Prescott Campus of Yavapai College with a nice crowd assembled to watch fewer than expected contestants compete, through 16 rounds. The Bee was hosted by the Yavapai County Education Service Agency (YCESA). The winning word was “ferret”. The 2023 County Champion was Shaelyn Van Doren of Franklin Phonetic Charter School, who showed great composure throughout the event. Second place went to Runner Up Thomas Kleinjan of Granite Mountain Middle School. Rosalie Metzner of Clarkdale-Jerome School was third and Aliyah Alpert of Alpert Homeschoolers was 4th. Due to the generosity of our community sponsors, the Prescott Sunrise Lions Club and Fastenal, winners will receive a plaque and a check ranging from $300.00 to $100.00 in ceremonies on their home campuses within the next few weeks.

Twenty-four spellers had qualified earlier for the county competition by winning their local school-based bee. The county bee is effectively “Tournament of Champions,” with students coming from school districts, charter schools, private schools, and from the home school community.

“As a whole, spellers did an honorable job, and their schools and families should be proud of them,” Carter said. The Prescott Sunrise Lions Club provided significant financial support for the Yavapai County Spelling Bee. The Prescott Sunrise Lions Club has a long history of supporting educational events in the local communities they serve. They live their motto of “We Serve” every single day. “We greatly appreciate the club’s ongoing commitment to our young people and their education,” Carter said. He also thanked Jenn Nelson, spelling bee coordinator, Yavapai College education professor Tara O’Neil, who served as “pronouncer”; and three veteran judges: Genna Adams, Educator in the Verde Valley; Kellie Burns, the district executive officer of the Yavapai Accommodation School District; and Karen Otis, community involvement coordinator, Drake Cement. The Yavapai County Education Service Agency (YCESA) sponsored the County Spelling Bee in conjunction with Scripps National Spelling Bee and Prescott Sunrise Lions Club. The Yavapai County Spelling Bee is the oldest in Arizona.