Published March 26, 2016
CROWNPOINT – Tough words like “ductile,” “semantics” and “meticulous” whittled the field of fifty spellers down to two at the Navajo Nation Spelling Bee held on March 17 at Navajo Technical University.
Hannah May Pengosro, a 6th-grader from Newcomb Middle School, and Kelly Haven, a 5th-grader from Tsehootsooí Intermediate Learning Center, slugged it out for 30 rounds making short work of words like “empanada”, “simile”, “arachnid”, and “pitchblende.”
Fourth- through eighth-grade students participated.
After more than two hours of spelling, Haven faltered. The ringing of a small bell let her know that her word “asana” had gotten the better of her, and tears filled her eyes as she sat down.
Before the crowd had even cheered for a full second after Pengosro spelled “antipasto” for the win, she rushed to console her competitor. Pengosro put her arm around Haven and whispered into her ear.
“I told her, if she can spell that well at fifth grade, she has got a big chance to get to the nationals,” she said. “I told her don’t lose heart. You can do it.”
As the champion, Pengosro will travel to Washington in May for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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