HONOLULU (KHON2) — The final round of the statewide Kupuna Spelling Bee was held on Saturday, July 23.

Erika Engle of Oahu was the top speller in the state with the word effervescent.

We’re Hawaii’s weather station, get the latest forecast and radar information here

As the grand champion, she was awarded the grand prize of a round trip for two to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies. She also won a gift certificate for a 5-day/4-night stay at the California Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

She emerged to the top spot after winners from seven preliminary contests from Maui, Big Island, Kauai, and Oahu competed.

The spelling bee was open to those 60 and older.

The top two winners of each of the age groups went on to the final round.
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

These are the winners in each of the three categories.

  • Engle, who previously worked at KHON2 as a reporter, was the also winner in the 60-69 year old age category.
  • Betty O’Rourke of Oahu was the winner in the 70-79 year old age category.
  • Rosario Viernes of Oahu was the winner in the 80 years old and up category.

Mufi Hannemann, President & CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, and former Honolulu mayor, was the pronouncer.

The idea of the kupuna spelling bee started with 17-year-ol Riley Regan who won his own spelling bee when he was in the fifth grade at Puu Kukui Elementary School on Maui.

His grandfather was diagnosed with alzheimer’s and dementia. Regan and his parents Lynn Araki-Regan and Keith Regan, lead the organizing efforts for the spelling bee.

The final round is posted on the Kupuna Spelling Bee Facebook page.

Weird rescues, long-lost artifacts, check out Weird News here

Funds from the $10 registration fee for the statewide Kupuna Spelling Bee benefited the Alzheimer’s Association – Hawaii.