Wearing traditional Yup’ik qaspeqs, students, Pilinguasta (1st place), Naaqista (2nd place), and Airluq (3rd place), hold up their Yup’ik Spelling Bee certificates.

Competing among eight schools in Bering Strait School District’s annual Yup'ik Spelling Bee, the Tukurngailnguq Grizzlies of Stebbins (Tapraq) swept the competition, taking the top three spots.  This year’s winners were:

  • 1st place - Pilinguasta (Brennan Paje) – grade 5
  • 2nd place - Naaqista (Blaine Paje) – grade 8
  • 3rd place - Airluq (Nevaeh Tom) – grade 7

Fifth grader Brennan Paje, whose Yup'ik name is Pilinquasta, took the top spot, and all three students qualify to attend the 10th Annual Yup'ik Spelling Bee for Beginners contest in Anchorage on April 16th.

The Yup’ik bee, long embraced in the community of Tapraq (the original Yup’ik name for the village of Stebbins), encourages communities to reconnect with their traditional language and inspires students to learn to speak, read, write, and spell in the native language of the region.

Quyana to Qanikcaq (Rebecca Atchak) for officiating the Bee, and congratulations to Ciuniq (Minnie Aluska) and An’ngaciyaq (Marian Mike) for coaching the students of Tukurngailnguq School.