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Karen Opoku-Appoh Wins the 2023 Arizona Spelling Bee!

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Phoenix, Ariz., March 18, 2023 — Karen Opoku-Appoh, an 8th grader from Marana Middle School,has out-spelled 26 other competitors to win the 2023 Arizona Spelling Bee hosted by the Arizona Educational Foundation on Saturday, March 18, 2023. Karen correctly spelled the word “passage”to win the bee.

Top 5 Arizona State Spelling Bee Winners for 2023 are:

  • 1st Place - Karen Opoku-Appoh, 8th Grade, Age 13, Marana Middle School, Marana Unified School District, Pima County

  • 2nd Place - Opal Mishra, 6th Grade, Age 12, Basha Accelerated Middle School, Chandler Unified School District, Maricopa County Region 6

  • 3rd Place - Sai Manvik Malreddy, 8th Grade, Age 13, Explorer Middle School, Paradise Valley Unified School District, Maricopa County Region 2

  • 4th Place - Regina Rascon, 7th Grade, Age 11, Bogle Junior High School, Chandler Unified School District, Maricopa County Region 6

  • 5th Place - Alrick James, 4th Grade, Age 9, Estrella Foothills Global Academy, Laveen School District, Maricopa County Region 3

The 2023 Arizona Spelling Bee event was held at the Madison Performing Arts Center in Phoenix which was the 25th year the event was coordinated by the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF®). Spellers competed against each other from different school locations across the state. Arizona has one of the largest Spelling Bee participation rates in the nation, with over 484,122 students competing from all schools that are eligible to compete across the state, including public, private, charter, and homeschools.

“It’s thrilling and inspiring to see the dedication and determination of these students,” stated Dr. Teresa Hill, AEF Deputy Director and coordinator for the Arizona Spelling Bee. “Being a champion speller takes thousands of hours of hard work, and it’s exciting to see all of the students showcasing their talents at the bee.”

AEF was the recipient of a $25,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities to support the Arizona State Spelling Bee this year.

“We are proud to support The Arizona State Spelling Bee, hosted by the Arizona Educational Foundation," said Michael Golding, Thunderbirds Charities President. "This program provides another opportunity for students to improve upon their literacy skills in a fun and exciting way. We look forward to this event each year and are proud of the student’s hard work and dedication.”

For the two students who place first and second place in the State Spelling Bee, AEF supports travel for the students and their chaperones to represent Arizona as official champions in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland. The 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals will be broadcast live on ION the evening of Thursday, June 1, 2023.

A video recording of the spelling bee will be uploaded to the Arizona Educational Foundation's YouTube channel and website after April 1, 2023.

For more details about the AEF® Spelling Bee program, please visit

For more information about the Arizona State Spelling Bee or winner information, contact Dr. Teresa Hill, State Bee Coordinator, at or (520) 591-0972.

AEF Arizona Spelling Bee Winner Press Release 2023
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About Thunderbirds Charities

Thunderbirds Charities is a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to distribute monies raised through the WM Phoenix Open. The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area. The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. The Thunderbirds consist of 55 “active” members and more than 285 “life” members. For more information on the Thunderbirds or the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open, visit For more information on the Thunderbirds Charities, visit

About Arizona Educational Foundation, AEF®

The mission of AEF is to celebrate excellence and cultivate equity in Pre-K-12th grade Arizona public education. This is accomplished through a variety of programs for teachers, administrators, and students. Some programs shine a spotlight on excellence; others provide a stepping stone to help support schools and educators on the road to awesomeness. In addition to the Arizona Teacher of the Year® program, AEF also coordinates the Arizona State Spelling Bee, the A+ School of Excellence® Award, the Principals Leadership Academy of Arizona, teachSTEM, Our World, and Take Your Legislator to School. AEF was founded in 1983, by then State Superintendent of Public Education, Carolyn Warner, who felt a nonprofit needed to be established to champion public education and recognize the great work of public school educators. AEF annually reaches over 500,000 students, teachers and administrators throughout Arizona. For more information visit, or contact

Media Contact:

Terri Bradford

Director of Communications & Digital Strategy, Arizona Educational Foundation

Mobile: 720-468-3996

Email address:


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