2018 Rio Rancho District Spelling Bee

Twenty Round Duel Names Rio Rancho Spelling Bee Champ
Posted on 01/22/2018
Samuel Le, 2nd, and Eliana Juarez, 1st in Rio Rancho District Spelling BeeIn one of the most difficult and challenging Rio Rancho District Spelling Bees ever, Mountain View Middle School 7th grader Eliana Juarez and Sandia Vista Elementary 5th grader Samuel Le tackled words some adults have never heard of, battling it out for 20 rounds before Juarez finally captured the championship.

At the end of the first ten rounds, Juarez and Le were the last two left standing of the original 31 competitors. They went toe to toe for another nine rounds, successfully facing down words such as “disquisition,” “moxibustion,” and “hypocorism.” Both spellers had opportunities to win but misspelled their championship word. Finally, in Rounds 19 and 20, Juarez successfully spelled “succulent” -- a Latin-derived word for “full of juice” -- and “avocations” – meaning “hobbies” -- in order to clinch the title.

Juarez and Le will represent Rio Rancho in the New Mexico State Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 12 at Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque. Maggie Cordova Elementary 5th grader Hanna Monroe finished third and will be the alternate in case one of the top two spellers is unable to compete at state.

Annabelle Montoya from MLK Elementary puzzles over a spelling wordSpellers in the Rio Rancho Bee compete in four preliminary competition rounds and earn points for correct answers. This format gives all of the competing students multiple opportunities to show off their spelling and vocabulary skills in front of their parents and bee spectators without fear of being eliminated. The top ten spellers and ties move on to compete in the finals.

Based on the point system, 14 of the 31 spellers qualified for the final rounds. Ten of the 14 fell out in the very tough fifth round, leaving the stage to the final four: Juarez, Le, Monroe, and Rio Rancho Cyber Academy eighth-grader Ashton Trujillo. Those four breezed through rounds 6, 7, and 8, before Trujillo fell out on “excruciating” (which probably describes the angst of spelling it). In the next round Monroe missed “uncoquettish,” leaving the stage to Juarez and Le to decide the title.

The Rio Rancho Bee includes two vocabulary rounds, one in the preliminaries and one in the finals. For the past couple of years the National Spelling Bee has strongly emphasized vocabulary in its competition in recognition of the fact that it is important for students to know what words mean as well as be able to spell them correctly. Vocabulary rounds are included in both the state and National Spelling Bee.

The New Mexico State Spelling Bee will be held on Saturday March 18 at 9 AM at Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque and will feature the best spellers from 22 of New Mexico’s 33 counties. The winner of the state bee competes in the 2018 National Spelling Bee.

Rio Rancho District Spelling Bee competitorsCompetitors from 16 schools participated in this year’s Rio Rancho District Spelling Bee, held on Friday, January 19 at Colinas del Norte Elementary School. The schools represented in the bee include all ten RRPS elementary schools and four middle schools, St. Thomas Aquinas School, and the middle school grades at the Rio Rancho Cyber Academy.