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Sossaman student wins state Spelling Bee, prepares for Washington D.C.

Penda Ba competing in spelling bee
Sossaman Middle School eighth grader Penda Ba correctly spelled the word “gigue” to win the Arizona Educational Foundation’s Arizona State Spelling Bee on March 25.
Ba out-spelled 26 competitors to take the title in the 29th round. The Queen Creek student will represent Arizona at the 90th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. in May 28-June 3.
Ba won the Higley Unified School District Spelling Bee in January and became the Region 6 Spelling Bee champion on Feb. 23, earning her a spot at the state event.
“The Spelling Bee is one of the most highly-anticipated programs we sponsor each year,” Arizona Educational Foundation Executive Director Bobbie O’Boyle said on the foundation’s website. “It’s not hard to see why; we get to showcase these students’ remarkable talents and offer an opportunity for these kids to celebrate their academic achievements every year at the Arizona State Spelling Bee.”
With the win, Ba became the second Higley Unified School District middle school student to earn the state title. Nila Dhinaker won the Arizona Bee in 2014 as a student at Cooley Middle School.
Arizona PBS (Channel 8) will run a broadcast of the 2017 Arizona State Spelling Bee 8 p.m. Friday, April 21.