English-Language Learners

After 53 Rounds, National Spanish Spelling Bee Ends in a Draw

By Lesli A. Maxwell — July 30, 2012 1 min read

After eliminating more than a dozen other competitors, two New Mexico students went round, after round, after round in a heads-up duel to win the national title in Spanish spelling before judges finally declared them co-champions.

National champions in Spanish spelling, you ask?

Indeed. Earlier this month, the New Mexico Association for Bilingual Education and the Alliance for Multilingual Multicultural Education organized and hosted the second annual national Spanish-language spelling bee in Albuquerque, N.M. Fifth grader Judith Villa and 8th grader Joana Fernandez, both from New Mexico, shared the title of top speller for 2012 after organizers ran out of words for them to spell, according to NBC Latino.

Nineteen students—ranging from 4th to 8th grade—participated in this year’s event and came from seven different states, up from 11 students who competed in the first-ever Spanish spelling bee last year.

The competition, according to organizers, is meant for native speakers, as well as students who are learning Spanish. Given the steadily rising popularity of dual-language programs in states across the country, it will be fun to see how interest in the Spanish spelling bee spreads.

You can test your own Spanish spelling prowess using the practice word list. And to meet the kids who participated in the first-ever Spanish spelling bee held last year, see the stern faces of the judges, and hear the dooming sound of “incorrecto” from the moderator, check out this video.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.