Monday, October 2, 2023

Chinle Bee returns after 3-year hiatus

Chinle Bee returns after 3-year hiatus


The Navajo Times-Navajo Nation Agency Spelling Bee kicked off the first of five regional qualifier bees in Chinle Feb. 2.

After a three-year hold because of Covid safety precautions in the Nation, the in-person event was filled with competitors, their families, and support staff.

First through eighth grades competed in the qualifier bee.

It was an eventful day. The staff had the administration room filled with snacks, fruits, water, and food for the competitors and their families and guests. The spelling bee lasted about seven hours overall.

The students who participated were a mix of nervous, confident, and relaxed, but they enjoyed the moment.

The seventh-grade round was that of a nail-biter though going thirteen rounds.

Judges had to check the audio on the champion word in round 10. The competition took a brief pause so that judges could listen to the playback as it was said too quickly to be sure.

The audio was played back a few times, with both judges concurring the word “feisty” was spelled “fiesty.”

“Navajo Times is proud to be the official regional partner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in our community for the 2022-2023 school year,” said Olivia Benally, CEO/publisher at the Navajo Times. “Both the Navajo Times and the Office of Diné Youth work together to provide students with the opportunity to compete in the nation’s longest-running educational competition.”

2023 Central Agency Spelling Bee results:

Sponsor – Kuhyonre E. Nata’ani

First grade
Champion – Aurora Lane of Rock Point Community School
Runner-up – Dylab Begay of Rock Point Community School

Second grade
Champion – Aubrey Tsosie of Many Farms Public School
Runner-up – Sierra Benally of Rock Point Community

Third grade
Champion – Autumn Harvey of Rock Point Community
Runner-up – Marley Wheeler of Many Farms Public School

Fourth grade
Champion – Heather Benally of Many Farms Public School
Runner-up – Jace Holiday of Rock Point Community

Fifth grade
Champion – Tayden Thomas of Rock Point Community School
Runner-up – Pristine Begay o Many Farms Public School

Sixth grade
Champion – Daydynn Begay of Many Farms Public School
Runner-up – Arianna Kee of Cottonwood

Seventh grade
Champion – Leanne Murphy ofChinle Junior High School
Runner-up – Honovi Yazzie of Rock Point Community School

Eighth grade
Champion – Jacob Etsitty of Chinle Junior High School
Runner-up – Susavannah Lee of Rock Point Community School

The remaining spelling bees will take place in Crownpoint Feb. 9, Shiprock Feb. 15, Ft. Defiance Feb. 16, and Tuba City Feb. 16.

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About The Author

Holly James

Holly James is Kinyaa'áanii (the Towering House Clan) and born for Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan). Her maternal grandfather is Kinłichíi’nii (Red House Clan), and her paternal grandfather is Honágháahnii (One-walks-around Clan). Ms. James was born in Tséhootsooí (Fort Defiance), Ariz., and grew up in Phoenix. She began her tenure with the Navajo Times as a freelancer, and a year ago, she moved from Nevada to Diné Bikéyah and became a full-time reporter. Her passion is sharing the light of her Diné People, the tenacity, pride, ingenuity, and resilience they show daily. She intends to enrich the hopes and aspirations of the Diné through the stories of contributions and hardships, survival, and culture revitalization.


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