Spanish students sting the competition at spelling bee

Winners of the Spanish spelling bee
Winners of the Spanish spelling bee
Alexandra Stewart

Students participated in the Spanish spelling bee at Heritage High School on Wednesday.

“I loved being there because it was a really supportive learning environment, and we all cheered each other on,” freshman and Spanish 3 student Raaha Sellamuthu said.

This year, the competition took place during the school day, unlike last year, when the event was held in the evening. 

“We got there at 8:30 [a.m.] and left around 3:15 [p.m.],” Spanish teacher Alexandra Stewart said. “It was much better and easier than last year, which was held in Cocoa Beach and at night.”

Stewart accompanied the students as a chaperone and spent the time cheering them on in the crowd.

“The chaperone job was really easy,” Stewart said. “I took attendance in the morning, made sure everyone was safe and sound the whole time and made sure they were being picked up by the people who dropped them off.”

Upon arrival, students had to check in and wait in their groups for their turn to compete.

“The kids got stickers to put on with their names and school so everyone knew which school they were from,” Stewart said. “We went by levels one through five, and then at the very end, the native speakers competed.”

The competitions took longer than expected due to many of the levels running out of words.

“If all the words were used up, contestants would get a new list with 25 words and get five minutes to study the list,” Sellamuthu said. “Once those five minutes were up, the competition would continue.”

Spanish 2 took the longest out of all the levels due to the students having to study two new lists of words.

“They went through 156 words,” Stewart said. “It took an hour and a half because there were 12 participants and they just kept going and going.”

While other students competed, the rest of the groups sat to the side and watched.

“I mostly cheered for other West Shore students,” Sellamuthu said. “Just for fun, in the lower levels, I would try to spell the words to see if I could remember.”

West Shore finished with multiple awards.

“In Spanish 2 we had fourth, seventh and ninth place,” Stewart said. “We got first place in Spanish 1, which was [seventh grader] Josh O. from Marti’s class. For Spanish 3, we have the first place for that one too, which was Raaha Sellamuthu. We also got a winner for Spanish 5.”

Students won either a medal and gift card to a local shop or a participant certificate based on what place they got in the competition.

“There were only two of us left, and the other contestant got the first word wrong, which I then spelled correctly,” Sellamuthu said. “After that I spelled the next word right, which was ‘fregadero,’ so that’s why I won. I’m really proud because I studied really hard all week for it.”


By Kris Rosa