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Cottonwood Elementary School fifth-grader Jose Esquer, above center, will compete at the Yavapai County Spelling Bee on Feb. 24 at Camp Verde Unified School District’s Phillip England Center for the Performing Arts. Also pictured with Jose are third graders Stephanie Espinosa and Wilson Curiales. (Photo by Bill Helm)

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9 Verde Valley schools send spelling champions to county’s 71st annual bee

“Now I’m excited and anxious at school,” Matthew says.