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Basis eighth-grader wins Pima county spelling bee

Basis eighth-grader wins Pima county spelling bee

Basis 8th-grader wins county spelling bee

Amiya Lotun, eighth-grader from Basis Oro Valley, won the 2020 Pima County Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word penicillin.

Lotun and second-place winner Coby Jeck, a fifth-grader from Tucson Hebrew Academy, will represent Pima County at the 2020 Arizona State Spelling Bee on March 21.

Third-place winner Bryan Zhang, a seventh-grader in the Catalina Foothills School District, will be an alternate in the state competition.

This year’s spelling bee was one of the county’s largest, with 42 spellers from across 27 organizations.

Tucson teen wins nat’l poetry contest

Tucson student Cecilia Appel won first prize in the November Cricket League poetry competition for her poem “A Cold Winter’s Evening.”

The 13-year-old’s poem will appear in Cricket’s March issue and can also be read at

Each issue of Cricket features a writing or art competition for children. To find out more, go to

Area teachers honored for literacy efforts

Two Tucson-area teachers received Literacy Champion awards from United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Gale Elementary preschool teacher Jennifer Connolly and Anza Trail School first grade teacher Brittany DeFazio accepted the awards during the Business Leaders for Early Education Breakfast, hosted by United Way affinity group Women United.

The annual award, in its fourth year, is presented to two early childhood educators for their work on improving literacy.

TUSD elementary gets classroom supply kits

Van Buskirk Elementary was one of three schools in the state chosen to receive kits full of classroom supplies as part of Verizon retailer TCC’s annual Teachers Rock Supply Giveaway.

The supply packs, valued at $77, include pencils, pens, dry erase markers, erasers, glue sticks, paper, tissue boxes, sticky notes and more, a news release said


Contact reporter Danyelle Khmara at or 573-4223. On Twitter: @DanyelleKhmara

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