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Sierra High freshman, Ripon Christian 6th grader go on to state Spelling Bee
Sierra High School Principal Steve Clark, right, presents freshman James Quiaoit, Jr. his award from Manteca Unified School District for being the San Joaquin County champion speller for 2014-2015 school year. Looking on at left is Board of Trustee Evelyn Moore who is a longtime active supporter and member of the annual Spelling Bee competitions in the district. Quiaoit will represent the district in the California State Spelling Bee championships, for the second year in a row, on May 2 in Marin County. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Returning to the California Spelling Bee competition for the second year in a row is Sierra High School freshman James Quiaoit. This time, he will be competing in the California State Junior High Spelling Bee.

Last year, the champion speller represented Manteca Unified and San Joaquin County at the state Spelling Bee when he was an 8th grader at Stella Brockman Elementary School.

The state competition will be held on Saturday, May 2, with the Marin County Office of Education coordinating and hosting the event.

The word for a potentially deadly infection is what clinched the championship for Quiaoit is in the seventh-through ninth-grade division county Spelling Bee: T-E-T-A-N-U-S. 

The champion wordsmith is the son of James Quiaoit, Sr. and his wife Edna. He works for the state lottery in Sacramento; she is an architect working for an architectural firm in the Bay area.

The Quiaoits’ daughter, Alejandra, who is an eighth grader at Stella Brockman, is also a past winner in the school district and county Spelling Bee competitions.

James’ $350 entry fee to the state competition will be paid for by the San Joaquin County Office of Education Foundation.

He and other Manteca Unified students who were also winners in the county Spelling Bee were honored by the school district with certificates of recognition. The other recipients of the certificates were: 

• in the 4th to sixth grade level – Melanie Nguyen, 6th grader at Brock Elliott; Sean Melan, 5th grader at Joshua Cowell; and, Dominic Sandoval, 5th grader at Neil Hafley.

• in the 7-9th grade level – Jessa belle Ramos, 8th grader at August Knodt in Weston Ranch; Wisher Tabaco, 7th grader at George Komure School, also in Weston Ranch; and, Quiaoit.

The California State Elementary Spelling Bee Championship will take place Saturday, April 18, at the San Joaquin County Office of Education’s Wentworth Education Center in Stockton. Representing the county in this division is Caleb Terpstra, a sixth grader at Ripon Christian School. His winning word which catapulted him to the state competition: B-L-U-D-G-E-O-N.