Thousands of boys and girls throughout Utah have participated in the spelling improvement program since 1977.

Sponsored by the Deseret News in cooperation with the Utah Education Association, State PTA and State Office of Education, the program climaxes each year at the state spelling bee. A Utah representative is then sent to the National Spelling Bee in the Washington, D.C.The following are the spelling champions who represented the Beehive State at the national competition, where they finished in the competition, the number in the contest, and the word they misspelled:

1977 - Jana Winters, 50th of 94, juratory.

1978 - Cliff Morrison, 40th of 106, cerecloth.

1979 - Cliff Morrison, 31st of 109, sinologist.

1980 - Cliff Morrison, 12th of 112, cedilla.

1981 - Mona Wu, 77th of 120, julienne.

1982 - Mitchell Kalauli, 65th of 126, soutane.

1983 - Karen Ellis, 67th of 137, meliorate.

1984 - Blake Comish, 101st of 151, triskelion.

1985 - Sandra Stephenson, 149th of 168, commorancy.

1986 - Christopher Gregory, 38th of 174, surrogate.

1987 - Monique Child, 107th of 185, gnotobiotics.

1988 - Tara Huber, 38th of 200, orchestrelle.

(In 1981, rules limited state winners to one time only as delegate to the National Spelling Bee.)

Oh, yes, if you're interested in the words that were spelled correctly to determine the national champion since 1977, try these in everyday conversations: deification, maculature, elucubrate, sarcophagus, psoriasis, purim, luge, milieu, odontalgia, staphylococci and elegiacal.