Winning Words: District names 2017 spelling champion

For several months, San Benito students had been preparing for the district’s annual spelling competition.

They studied and practiced spelling words such as falsetto (noun – an artificially high voice), hassock (noun – a bulky upholstered cushion that serves as a seat or leg rest), and haversack (noun – a bag or case similar to a knapsack but usually worn over one shoulder).

Sponsored by the San Benito CISD Department of Leadership and Performance, the annual Spelling Bee provides elementary and middle school students with an opportunity to learn new words, sharpen their spelling and vocabulary skills, and vie for the title of the school district’s top speller.

This year’s competition came to an end when Lindsey Montemayor of Berta Cabaza Middle School earned the first place honor after successfully spelling the word fathom (noun – a unit of length equal to 6 feet, used especially for measuring the depth of water).

Lily Marroquin of Dr. C.M. Cash Elementary earned second place, and Mariah Garcia of Berta Cabaza Middle School received third place.

Montemayor is no stranger to the districtwide spelling competition. Last year, she placed second, and in 2015, she placed third.

“I wanted to finally win first, so I practiced at least three times a week at home on top of what we were already practicing in school,” explained Montemayor.

“Lindsey had experienced this before, but she had never broken the glass ceiling to a first place win. Mariah competed for the first time and placed third,” said Marigel DeLeon, Berta Cabaza Middle School teacher and Spelling Bee coach, expressing her excitement about how well her students did while preparing for and during the spelling competition.

Montemayor will now represent the district at the 29th Annual Rio Grande Valley Regional Spelling Bee, slated for Saturday, March 4, at South Texas College in Weslaco. “I’m both excited and scared to compete at the regional level because it is a lot of pressure, but I’m pretty confident I will do well,” she said.

Connie Cruz, this year’s Spelling Bee Coordinator and the school district’s Director of Elementary Education, proudly attributes the success of the event to the contestants, their coaches, their parents, school administrators, and everyone involved in the planning and implementation of the competition.

“It is an honor to see these students reach this level in the district’s spelling competition. Their coaches and parents are instrumental in their success,” said Cruz. “Because of the dedication and effort of many individuals, this event always a tremendous success,” she added.

Among the individuals that set the pace for the spelling competition was event pronouncer Raul J. Treviño, also the district’s Executive Director of Leadership and Performance.

“The Spelling Bee is an incredible opportunity to showcase the academic talents of our students. I’m so proud of each and every one of the students who put in the long hours to study for this event,” explained Treviño.

“I would like to thank all of our coaches and parents who helped prepare our students for this challenge as well as extend a word of appreciation to Spelling Bee Coordinator Connie Cruz and her assistant, Rebecca Vera, for months and months of coordination to make this all happen for our students,” he added.

The Spelling Bee is definitely a T-E-A-M effort!