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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


March 6, 2004 - Issue 108


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Torreon Excels at Spelling Bee

credits: Fifth grade speller Makayla Toledo faces judges Myrna Tsinajinnie, Anston Yazzie and Drew Sage as she competes in the Eastern Agency spelling bee Thursday morning at St. Paul's parish hall in Crownpoint, N.M. Photo by Jeff Jones/Independent

Fifth grade speller Makayla Toledo faces judges Myrna Tsinajinnie, Anston Yazzie and Drew Sage as she competes in the Eastern Agency spelling bee Thursday morning at St. Paul's parish hall in Crownpoint, N.M. CROWNPOINT — Torreon Day School dominated the Eastern Agency Spelling Bee, placing eight champions, runners-up and alternates among the 15 positions in Thursday's competition at St. Paul's Catholic Mission Hall.

Crownpoint Community School finished with four, followed by Wingate Elementary School with two and the new Baca Community School with one.

The Eastern Agency's 10 first and second place victors (or the alternate, if one can't be there) will join an equal number of fourth through eighth-graders from the other quartet of agencies for the Navajo Nation-Hopi Tribe Spelling Bee on March 18 at the Peterson Zah-Navajo Nation Museum-Library.

The tribes' champion equal to state winners in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., with a chaperone for the June 1-4 Scripps National Spelling Bee where approximately 250 boys and girls vie to become America's best young speller.

As the Bee's sponsor, The Independent pays for the trip. The Navajo Nation's Din Youth Office conducts the agency and final Bees. With only 42 students competing, the Eastern Agency spell downs for the five grades took only about 90 minutes, including the reading of the rules in which "Option A" broke ties. In this option the winner has to consecutively spell correctly two words beyond the round in which the other contestant(s) missed their words.

By grade, the champions, runners-up and alternates, with their schools, are:

4th grade Champion, Kirsten Bahe, Crownpoint Community; runner-up, Alyssa Castillo, Torreon Day; alternate, Carrey Billie, Torreon Day.

5th grade Makayla Toledo, Torreon Day; Andrea Morgan, Baca Community; Gwendolyn Gordo, Torreon Day.

6th grade Jamye King, Torreon Day; Nakai Eversole, Crownpoint Community; Leandara Long, Wingate Elementary.

7th grade Franco Begay, Torreon Day; Wynona Wilson, Wingate Elementary; Colin Antonio, Crownpoint Community.

8th grade Brittany Toledo, Torreon Day; Terrell Toledo, Crownpoint Community; Sherri Wellito, Torreon Day.

Also competing in the lower grades was Mariano Lake Community School.

Each round took, at most, a quarter-hour, with only four rounds of words needed for the six 7th-graders and seven rounds for the six 8th-graders. It also took seven rounds to decide the 10 finishers in the sixth grade.

The judges often had to strain to hear the boys and girls enunciate each letter, except for the 6th-graders who spoke loud enough to be heard easily in the rear of the hall.

Judges were Myrna Tsinnajinnie of Torreon Day School (who read definitions or used the word in a sentence the few times contestants asked), Anston Yazzie and Drew Sage, both of the Din Youth Office. The pronouncer was Mary Morgan of Crownpoint Community School. The Bee's coordinator and chief bailiff, Roberta Hanna of the Din Youth Office's Crownpoint center, presented each of the school coordinator-coaches a top-clip notepad binder.

Champions received a heavy-duty light blue back pack and a certificate for a compact disc player, with the runners-up each getting a thesaurus, dictionary, dry erase notebook-sized chalk board and a plastic covered notebook-style organizer. Each of the 42 contestants also picked up a T-shirt with the busy buzzing bee Spelling Bee logo and a certificate of achievement.

Crownpoint, NM Map

Maps by Travel

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

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