Published February 20, 2016
TUBA CITY, ARIZONA — Karin Jones pronounced each spelling word and gave the definition immediately. When asked, she was also able to provide the definition once more, the language of origin, the alternate pronunciation, and the usage of the word in a sentence.
“No. 14, you have an (anticipated championship word),” Jones said as Maria Macaraig, 9, of Tuba City Primary School walked up to the mike. “Chutney, a noun, a condiment that has the consistency of jam and is made of acid fruits with added raisins, dates and onions, and seasoned to taste with spices and vinegar.”
“Chutney,” Macaraig said. “C-H-U-T-N-E-Y chutney.”
“Well done,” Jones said as the crowd gave Macaraig a round of applause after correctly spelling the word, which derived from Hindi and Urdu.
After only four rounds, Macaraig was declared the champion for the fourth-grade competition during the Navajo Times’ Western Navajo Regional Spelling Bee on Feb. 11.
Twelve schools – Chilchinbeto Community, Hopi Day School, Hopi Junior/Senior High, Kaibeto Boarding, Kayenta Boarding, Moencopi Day School, Rocky Ridge Boarding, Second Mesa Day School, Shonto Preparatory, Tsinaabąąs Habitiin Elementary, Tuba City Boarding, and Tuba City Primary – participated in this year’s spelling bee.
Nineteen spellers competed in the fourth-grade competition. Thirteen spellers were eliminated after the first round, in which Levi Decolongon, 9, of Tuba City Primary was eliminated but was put back into the contest after officials learned that he had correctly spelled “gospel.”
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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