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‘That’s her superpower’

‘That’s her superpower’

Kelly Haven’s third chance at national bee comes after hard battle


Kelly Haven tactically picked apart the most challenging words only to successfully spell them back together in order to win the Navajo Times-Navajo Nation Spelling Bee.

Her winning words were “heteromorphic” — having different forms at different stages of life — and “interlocution” — a conversation between two or more persons.

A Tséhootsooí Middle School 8th-grader, Haven will be returning to the National Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., for the third time after qualifying last Thursday in an epic battle against Tuba City Junior High School 7th-grader Maria Macaraig. After 106 rounds, two-time Navajo Nation champion Haven and impressive newcomer Macaraig had exhausted the spelling bee list, leaving judges and pronouncers having no choice but to use words from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which is used at the national spelling bee.

“I feel so satisfied with myself,” said an exhausted Haven. “I was so happy. I was seriously starting to settle with second place. It was so discouraging when you missed a word after getting a word correct.”

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About The Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports 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. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @abecenti


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