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Sossaman, Cortina students to represent HUSD at Regional Spelling Bee

Winner and runner-up of the HUSD Spelling Bee
Sossaman eighth-grader Penda Ba and Cortina fifth-grader Devin Reinhart took the crowns as winner and runner-up at the Higley Unified School District Spelling Bee on Monday, Jan. 23. The two competed against 20 other competitors in the event, hosted by the Higley Center for the Performing Arts.

Representatives from all nine elementary schools, plus the two middle schools, took part. Students ranged in age from fourth through eighth grade.

The final word was “syncope” and then the winning word was “churlish.”

Both Ba and Reinhart will represent Higley in the regional bee next month. Qualifiers from that event move on to the Arizona Spelling Bee, with a chance to represent the district and the state in the national event in Washington D.C. Penda was competing in her second HUSD Spelling Bee. Devin was competing in her first.

The HUSD Spelling Bee was organized by Cortina Assistant Principal Kelly Papke. Special thanks go to pronouncer Cynthia Walker and the judges: Superintendent Dr. Mike Thomason, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Warren Shillingburg, Director of Elementary Education Sheryl Rednor and Karla Helotes. Additional thanks go to Darlene Reach and Virginia Sanchez for behind-the-scenes work and preparation.

“Each of these people involved helped to make the evening a successful and enjoyable experience,” Papke said. “Congratulations to Penda and Devin and good luck at the next competition!”