Haley Butel wins Apache Junction school district spelling bee


Haley Butel, a sixth grader from Desert Vista Elementary School, proved she was an orthographer --- good speller --- by taking first place in the Apache Junction Unified School District Spelling Bee. 

She competed against students from DVES, Four Peaks Elementary School, Peralta Trail Elementary School and Cactus Canyon Junior High School, according to a release.

The other winners were:

  • Second place, Justus Yingling, a sixth grader from FPES.
  • Third place, Kahla Shields, a fifth grade student at DVES.
  • Fourth place, Sarina Kepling, also from DVES.

“Spelling Bees not only help students improve their spelling and expand their vocabulary, it allows them to develop stronger cognitive skills and learning strategies,” Robyn Gonzales, AJUSD's educational services curriculum manager, said in the  release. “We are very proud of our winners, Haley, Justus, Kahla and Sarina, as well as all of the students who participated in this event.”

The next step will be for AJUSD’s top three spellers to compete in the 57th Annual Pinal County Spelling Bee in J.O. Combs Unified School District in Florence on Feb. 14.

Last year all three AJUSD contestants placed in the Top 10 in regional competition.