An ‘anime betrayal’

Classmates trade rankings at Western bee


When Anthony Hill became the champion for the 8th-grade competition at the Navajo Nation/Navajo Times’ Western Navajo Spelling Bee on Feb. 8, he walked past Kaiden Etsitty and threw some hand tropes.

Navajo Times | Krista Allen
Kaiden Etsitty and Anthony Hill sparred verbally at the Navajo Nation/Navajo Times Wetern Navajo Spelling Bee on Feb. 8.

Hill, 14, who was the runner-up for his grade at Tuba City Boarding School, proved himself nefarious when he became the champion after correctly spelling “subscription” in Round 10 to win the round.

Etsitty, 13, called the moment an “anime betrayal,” meaning his classmate’s win came as a shock, just as it would in the world of anime.

“It’s ironic,” Hill said with a laugh. “As long as we both made it.”

Etsitty, who was the TCBS eighth-grade champion, became the runner-up, and both young men will be going to the Navajo Nation/Navajo Times Spelling Bee on March 15 at the Wildcat Den in Chinle.

Students from 11 schools – Dził Libéí Elementary, First Mesa Elementary, Hopi Day, Moencopi Day, Rocky Ridge Boarding, Second Mesa Day, Shonto Preparatory, Tsinaabąąs Habitiin, Tuba City Boarding, Tuba City Public, and Kaibeto Boarding – participated in this year’s spelling bee.

In the auditorium at Greyhills Academy, 24 spellers competed in the 4th-grade competition, which lasted an hour.

It was not until Round 8 that this competition heated up as Kaitlynn Dugi of Dził Libéí Elementary and Camry Sanchez of Hopi Day began dueling with words. The duo competed for 10 more rounds until Dugi correctly spelled “primers.”

Twenty-two spellers competed in the 5th-grade competition, which lasted 35 minutes. But it did not take long for Miara Bilagody of Tuba City Public School to be declared champion after Round 5, after she correctly spelled “ravel.”

Arianna Holmes of Moencopi Day and Neoma Flowers of Hopi Day went head-to-head in the next two rounds, becoming runner-up and alternate, respectively.

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