Thursday, March 30, 2023

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Just 1 school shows up for Eastern bee


To’hajiilee Community School was the only school to compete at the Eastern Agency Navajo Times-Navajo Nation Spelling Bee held in Crownpoint last Thursday.

Kristen Pablo, Crownpoint Office of Diné Youth programs and projects specialist, said at least five schools participated last year and this year having only one was a tad disheartening. “I’m kind of disappointed.

I had four schools originally but only one showed up,” said Pablo. “I think language overall is why spelling bees are important. English being the primary language, and for them to go to college they have to learn how to read, how to write, and how to use vocabulary.”

David Platero was named the 8th-grade winner after he correctly spelled “hunky-dory,” and his classmate Samuel Gruber came in second.
They will head to the Navajo Nation Spelling Bee, which will be held in Kayenta this year.

Although not nervous about the spelling bee, Platero said he would increase his study of difficult words before the spelling bee next month. The winner of the Navajo Nation Spelling Bee will be heading to the Scripps National Spelling Bee held in Washington, D.C.

With the reigning Navajo Nation Spelling Bee champion Kelly Haven aged out, that top spot is ready for the taking for any hopeful student.

“My mom helped me study for this,” said Gruber on how he got ready for the spelling bee. “I think this was a good experience and it wasn’t nerve-wracking.” Sixth-grader Cole Johnson came in first in his grade with the correct spelling of “tarry,” and Tommy Platero was the second-place finisher after eight rounds. After 18 rounds Kamara Gutierrez won first place in 7th grade with the correct spelling of “jumbo,” and second-place finisher was Tatum Wilson.

About The Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reported on Navajo Nation Council and Office of the President and Vice President. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent.


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