For the second year in a row, Lodi's Julie Fukunaga took first place in her division in the county spelling bee Wednesday. The Elkhorn Middle School eighth-grader clinched the seventh- through ninth-grade division with the word "soliloquy."
Vinewood Elementary School sixth-grader Jack Goebel earned a second-place award in the fourth- through sixth-grade division. The first place winner was Vivek Vanga, a fifth-grader at Tom Hawkins Elementary in the Jefferson Elementary School District.
Both students will move on to participate in the California State Elementary Spelling Bee Championship in April. It will be held in Stockton. Wednesday's 15th annual San Joaquin County Spelling Bee Championship was held at the county office of education in Stockton.
Fukunaga, who won last year's championship, is no stranger to winning competitions.
In May, the Lodi resident took first place in a statewide science competition with a machine that controls weeds by using computer circuitry to detect if an invasive plant is present. This technology will allow grape-growers to spray only the exact location of the weed instead of bare ground.
She took first place with the same concept in last year's county science fair, when she bested 1,000 entrants to clinch the top spot.
For her win Wednesday, Julie and second-place winner Hanna Nakahara, of Tracy, will participate in the California State Junior High Spelling Bee Competition in May. It will be held in San Rafael, and the San Joaquin County Office of Education Educational Foundation will pay the entry fees.
First-place winners from the county spelling bee championship received a $100 savings bond and plaque, second-place winners received a $50 savings bond and plaque, and all participants received a certificate and medal.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.