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Inaugural Kupuna Statewide Spelling Bee Starts July 9

June 26, 2022, 6:30 AM HST
* Updated June 25, 4:24 PM
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The Kupuna Spelling Bee to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association Hawai‘i is looking for participants who know how to put together words.

Four in-person public competitions are scheduled to take place, one on each of the four major islands, in addition to one virtual event that will be held via Zoom.

The goal is to find the top kupuna speller.

The two top winners in each age category from each preliminary spelling bee will receive a medal and advance to compete for prizes at the 2022 statewide Kupuna Spelling Bee on Oahu on Saturday, July 23. Finalists will also have the option to compete virtually.

To follow is the schedule of in-person public competitions:

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O‘ahu – Saturday, July 9 at 9 a.m. at Aliʻiolani Elementary School in Kaimuki
Hawai‘i Island – Saturday, July 9 at 9 a.m. at the Hilo Elks Lodge
Maui – Saturday, July 9 at 9 a.m. at Puʻunēnē School in Kahului
Kaua‘i – Sunday, July 17 at 2 p.m. at the Līhu‘e Neighborhood Cente

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The virtual event will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 16.

To register, visit kupunaspellingbee.com. Registration deadline is July 5. The cost to participate is a $10 donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. All Hawaii residents ages 60 years and above are eligible to participate.

In addition to the public competitions, there will be private events held at Kahala Nui, 15 Craigside, and Arcadia for their residents in early July. Any other senior care facilities interested in hosting a competition for their residents are asked to contact Justin George at the Alzheimer’s Association office at 808-518-6654.

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The competition is both a fundraising activity to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association Hawai‘i and a way for kupuna to sharpen and utilize their cognitive skills in a friendly competition.

The competition will take place in three age categories:

Category 1: Seniors 60 to 69 years of age
Category 2: Seniors 70 to 79 years of age
Category 3: Seniors 80 years of age and above

Finalists at the statewide Kupuna Spelling Bee on July 23 will also have the option to compete virtually.

As the presenting sponsor, Alaska Airlines is providing the Grand Prize winner a pair of roundtrip tickets to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies. There will also be giveaways of a 5-day/4-night stay for two people at the California Hotel in Las Vegas and other great prizes.

The idea for the Kupuna Spelling Bee originated with 16-year-old ‘Iolani School junior, Riley Regan, who won his own spelling bee as a fifth-grader at Puu Kukui Elementary School on Maui. Riley, along with his parents, Lynn Araki-Regan and Keith Regan, are leading the organizing efforts for the spelling bee.

“Research shows that older adults who view themselves as lifelong learners tend to have sharper cognitive skills. Preparing for a spelling competition can hone those skills,” Riley said.

For sponsorship and prize donation information, contact the Regan family at [email protected]

For information on conducting a preliminary spelling bee or to reach the Alzheimer’s Association, contact Justin George at [email protected] or 808-518-6654.

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