Five hours and 132 words later, Lodi's Julie Fukunaga placed fifth in the state spelling bee championship.
More than 50 seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students from 29 counties throughout California competed in the event last Saturday. It was held in San Rafael.
Fukunaga, who is in the seventh grade at Elkhorn School, spelled her way to success in December when she took first place in her age division at the county contest. For that, she received a $100 savings bond.
It was her third year participating at the county level, and the top two winners automatically advanced to the state spelling bee.
Earlier this month, the Lodi resident placed first in one of 22 categories at a state science fair after besting her peers at the county level in March with a machine that detects weeds in vineyards. She received a $250 prize.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at email@example.com.