Kevin Luo, an eighth grader at Pacific Trails Middle School (PTMS), won the 49th Annual San Diego Union-Tribune Countywide Spelling Bee in March. Kevin competed against 92 other spellers in the first round, with more than half being eliminated in the first and second rounds. Just three students made it to the final round, with Kevin correctly spelling “gradine” to win the competition. He will go on to represent San Diego County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, MD in May, receiving guidance from last year’s Countywide Spelling Bee winner and former PTMS student Yash Hande.

The annual Spelling Bee is open to sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students in a public or private school with a combined enrollment of 30 or more children. “The Spelling Bee is a time-honored academic competition that I’m glad is still practiced and applauded today,” said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold.