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Spelling bee champs at Thornton Elementary's first Spanish spelling bee
Posted in , on May 13, 2024

Spanish pronunciation required at spelling bee

Fourth grader Adan Rodriguez set the example at the first-ever Thornton Elementary Spanish Spelling Bee – and he spelled it correctly, too!  

Buzzing with anticipation, 22 third through sixth grade students gathered in the cafeteria, ready to showcase their language skills last week. 

After eight rounds, Rodriguez took home the win after correctly spelling the word “ejemplo,” which translates to “example” in English.  

“I was nervous, but I am so excited,” Rodriguez said. “I practiced every single day.”  

Spanish spelling bee champs at Thonton Elementary SchoolBut it wasn’t an easy win. In round seven, Rodriguez faced off with fifth grader and spelling bee runner-up Nicole Flores with the word “educación,” where the speller must include the accent. Spellers also had to use the Spanish pronunciation of letters when they stepped up to the mic to spell. 

And while there were only 22 students in the bee, there were plenty of eyes on the spellers. The bee was also broadcast for the entire school.  

“All of my friends screamed when I went back to class,” Rodriguez said. “They were so excited.” 

As a Spanish and English speaker, Rodriguez speaks mostly English at home, making the Spanish bee a challenge.  

“I wanted to just try to see if I could do it,” he said. “And I won first place.”  

Rodriguez’s experience reflects that of many at Thornton, where 70% of students are Spanish English learners. 

“The spelling bee speaks to our population here,” said Thornton principal, Alicia Rodriguez. “I felt so proud watching them speak in Spanish.”