Martina Navarrete (far right), a fifth-grade student at Idyllwild School, was fourth in the Hemet Unified School District’s annual Spelling Bee. The other winning students are (from left) Aileen Luke, first, from the Western Center Academy; Ahnika Peña, second and also a WCA student; and Jesse Estrada, third, from Rancho Viejo. Accompanying the students are Spelling Bee Master Michelle Badura from Riverside County Office of Education (back, center) and Annette Davis-Thole (back, right), HUSD director of Elementary Education. 
Photo courtesy Alexandrea Sponheim, Hemet Unified School District


Hemet Unified School District held its annual Spelling Bee on Jan. 9. Idyllwild School fifth grader Martina Navarrete was the fourth-place winner.

In 2017, Idyllwild student Tim Mejia finished sixth.

“Idyllwild students have placed in the top 10 frequently over the years and Martina should be congratulated along with the other Idyllwild students for their diligent studies and hard work,” said Vic Scavarda, HUSD trustee representing Idyllwild. “I am always impressed when our small school has a good showing in the district.”

Western Center Academy student Aileen Luke, who was fourth place last year, was the winner after she correctly spelled the word “pristine” in the 28th round. Aileen will advance to the county level to compete in the County Spelling Bee.

Forty-six students attended the event and competed against their peers. Ahnika Peña, also from Western Center Academy, won second place and Jesse Estrada from Rancho Viejo Middle School won the third-place spot.