More than two dozen students in grades 4-8 will put their word power to the test Tuesday in the 42nd annual Riverside County Spelling Bee.
The event is set for 9 a.m. at the Moreno Valley Conference & Recreation Center, where multiple rounds are planned into the afternoon.
A total 28 students from public and private schools throughout the county are slated to take part. Twenty-seven “alternates” will also be on hand in case the principals drop out due to illness or other unforeseen factors, according to county Office of Education spokesman Craig Petinak.
The champion speller for the last three years — Aisha Randhawa from Auburndale Intermediate School in the Corona-Norco Unified School District — will be back for another go at the title. A win for Aisha on Tuesday would be unprecedented, making her the first four-time spelling champ in the four-decade history of the Riverside County Spelling Bee.
Petinak said that, including Aisha, only one other competitor — seventh-grader Nathan Marth of the Eagle Mountain School in the Desert Center Unified School District — has taken part in bees going back to 2016.
In addition to Corona-Norco and Desert Center Unified, other school districts represented at the bee are:
— Banning Unified;
— Beaumont Unified;
— Coachella Valley Unified;
— Desert Sands Unified;
— Hemet Unified;
— Lake Elsinore Unified;
— Menifee Union;
— Moreno Valley Unified;
— Murrieta Valley Unified;
— Nuview Union School District;
— Palm Springs Unified;
— Palo Verde Unified;
— Perris Union School District;
— Romoland Union School District;
— San Jacinto Unified;
— Temecula Valley Unified; and
— Val Verde Unified.
Additionally, the following unaffiliated schools will have students in the competition: Encore School for the Arts, Highland Academy Charter School, Inspire Charter School, Oakhill Academy, Pechanga School, Santa Rosa Academy, St. Jeanne de Lestonnac, Temecula International Preparatory and Van Avery Preparatory.
The winner will go on to represent Riverside County in the national contest, scheduled for May 26-31 in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Aisha represented the county there in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
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