District names 2018 spelling champion

For the past several months, San Benito students had been preparing for the school district’s annual spelling competition with the help of their spelling coaches and parents.

They studied and practiced spelling words such as alacrity (noun – cheerful readiness; eagerness), generalissimo (noun – the chief commander of an army), and stevedores (noun – those who work at or are responsible for the loading or unloading of a ship in port).

Sponsored by the San Benito CISD Departments of Academic Services and Professional Development, the annual spelling competition 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.

San Benito students having competed in the 2018 Spelling Bee were the following:

• Angela G. Leal Elementary – Nirel Arratia, Rolando Garza, Aaron Huerta;

• Dr. C.M. Cash Elementary – Cesar Alvarez, Araceli Castellanos, Eduardo Delgado;

• Dr. Raul Garza, Jr. Elementary – Mia De La Fuente, Mikaella Soria;

• Ed Downs Elementary – Joanna Davila, Mckenna Jalomo, Anthony Lara;

• Frank Roberts Elementary – Peyton Cortez, Leah Hernandez, Ryan Lerma;

• Fred Booth Elementary – Amanda Garza, Sophia Hernandez, Eric Quezada;

• Judge Oscar De La Fuente Elementary – Aiden De La Torre, Diego Martinez, Valeria Torres;

• La Encantada Elementary – Jaylen Castillo, Jasmine Lara;

• La Paloma Elementary – Alexa Ortiz, Lindsey Trejo, Aidan Villarreal;

• Landrum Elementary – Jennina Ortega, Alexa Perea, Troy Rada;

• Rangerville Elementary – Mybella Benavides, Abril Soto, Valeria Soto;

• Sullivan Elementary – Gabriel Lopez, Ricky Salazar, Sebastian Saldivar;

• Berta Cabaza Middle School – James Cowan, Iviannah Lara, Delila Rodriguez;

• Miller Jordan Middle School – Brandon Hernandez, Dylan Hite, Evelyn Romero;

• San Benito Riverside Middle School – Christopher Carreon, and Saul Espinoza.

This year’s competition came to an end after seven rounds of competition when Araceli Castellanos, a fifth grader at Dr. C.M. Cash Elementary, successfully spelled the word necessary (adjective – that must be by reason of the nature of things; that is determined and fixed and inevitable), earning the first-place honor. Eduardo Delgado, a fourth grader at Dr. C.M. Cash Elementary, earned second place; and Abril Soto, a fifth grader at Rangerville Elementary, finished in third place.

“It feels amazing to be the SBCISD Spelling Champion. I feel proud of myself for my hard work,” explained Castellanos. “It was nerve-wracking to spell in front of so many people, but I kept telling myself ’I can do this!’ and ’Don’t give up!’”

As the local spelling champion, Castellanos will now represent the district at the 30th Annual Rio Grande Valley Regional Spelling Bee, slated for Saturday, March 3, at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen.

“I am extremely proud of our scholars! Their performance at the district Spelling Bee exemplified our core values of dedication by their commitment to daily practice and collaboration by our dedicated coach, Maki House, and our students’ supportive parents,” said Dilia Cornett, Principal of Dr. C.M. Cash Elementary.

For spelling coach Maki House, the local spelling competition was particularly memorable as not only one, but two, of her students walked away with the top two honors.

“Since September, our scholars and their parents dedicated themselves 110 % for this competition. They learned how to dedicate themselves to compete beyond their own limit and ability,” stressed House. “The benefit is that they will never forget the process of how to become a champion!”

“The anxiety as well as the excitement was palpable throughout the competition. Everyone concentrated on each word the official pronouncer provided and then held their breath to see if the spelling was deemed ’correct’ or ’incorrect’ by the event judges. It was a tough battle at times,” shared Dr. Dotti Shelton, this year’s District Spelling Bee Coordinator and the district’s Assistant Director of Professional Development.

“Participating in a Spelling Bee allows the students to engage in healthy competition. This type of activity allows the students to develop self-confidence, better their public speaking skills, and increase their ability to do their best under pressure,” added Julie Treviño, Director of Professional Development.

Shelton and Treviño were very appreciative of everyone that made the event a complete success.