Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School eighth-grader Gabrielle Vance won the Juneau School District's Spelling Bee conducted Thursday at Auke Bay Elementary School. Two students from each of Juneau's six elementary schools and two middle schools participated in the competition. The 16 students ranging in grade level from the third to the eighth grade competed for the opportunity to represent the district at the statewide spelling bee to be held in February in Anchorage.
Gabrielle Vance is the daughter of Juneau attorneys Ann Gifford and Leon Vance. She squared off with Gastineau Elementary School fifth-grader Ben Rupe in the final round and correctly spelled castanets and arraignment to take the title of Juneau's Top Speller.
No stranger to statewide competition, Vance previously competed in the statewide Geography Bee as a fifth-grader at Harborview Elementary and as a seventh-grader at Dzantik'i Heeni. Earlier this school year, the eighth grader won Dzantik'i Heeni's geography bee for the second consecutive year and hopes to be headed again to Anchorage for that competition in April. Unlike the spelling bee, geography bee winners at the school level must take a written test and the top 100 scorers in the state are then invited to Anchorage for the geography bee competition. Vance's test results are pending.