By Kyle Sanor
During Jan. 19, Apache Junction unified School District held its spelling bee for elementary and junior high students.
Last year, the champion was Bernardo Vidana. But now, a new speller took his crown and her name is Casey Smith. Although she claimed she “lost her packet and was unable to study,” the Cactus Canyon eighth grader emerged victorious and took the crown. Second and third place students were Dana Carlson and Gabe Morris.
Vidana, however, lasted only half the way and was eliminated in the middle rounds.
Smith said she didn’t expect to win and was surprised when she was the last one left.
“I lost my packet, so I didn’t really get to prepare,” said Smith. “It took about seven or eight rounds and I faced the second and third place winners. I felt scared at the beginning and felt relieved at the end.
Smith, Carlson, and Morris all went to the next level, the Pinal County bee, on Feb. 17.