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2017-03-29 / Featured / News

County holds first Spanish spelling bee

BY RICH GRISET STAFF WRITER


Chesterfield students participated in the county’s first Spanish spelling bee earlier this month. Jalyn Jimenez Garcia, far left, a 14-year-old student at Salem Church Middle School, won the contest by correctly spelling “vaquero.” 
ASH DANIEL Chesterfield students participated in the county’s first Spanish spelling bee earlier this month. Jalyn Jimenez Garcia, far left, a 14-year-old student at Salem Church Middle School, won the contest by correctly spelling “vaquero.” ASH DANIEL The word “vaquero” means cowboy or cattle driver in Spanish, but for Jalyn Jimenez Garcia, it meant winning Chesterfield’s first annual Spanish spelling bee.

The 14-year-old Salem Church Middle student beat out nine other contestants in the auditorium of Swift Creek Middle on March 16. Five students from each of the two schools fielded Spanish words until there were just two contestants: Jimenez Garcia and Swift Creek Middle eighth-grader Alvaro Huarhua-Tapia. Now, Jimenez Garcia will head to the Virginia State Spanish Spelling Bee in April. “I’ve got to practice,” said Jimenez Garcia in light of her win. “There’s going to be hard words with accents. But I’m happy.”

Ellie Murnane, a Spanish teacher at Salem Church who teaches Jimenez Garcia’s twin sister, was also pleased.

“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “I’m over the moon.”

Swift Creek Middle Spanish teacher Erin Anthony said that having a Spanish spelling bee provides another way for students to achieve.

“It allows students to shine in a different way,” said Anthony, who hosted the event.

Anthony said she reached out to other middle schools in Chesterfield to participate, but Salem Church was the only one to agree.

“We’re hoping to have more participation in the future,” Anthony said.

The winner of the statewide competition will go on to the National Spanish Spelling Bee, which will take place mid-July in San Antonio, Texas.

“It’s slowly growing in popularity, but still only 15 states participate,” Anthony said.

Calvin Frye, principal of Swift Creek Middle, was glad that Anthony put the event together.

“I’m really excited that we were able to host this event,” Frye said. “We’re hoping to expand this next year to other schools.” ¦

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