Spelling Bee 2019

Duel of Champions Decides Rio Rancho Spelling Bee
Posted on 01/22/2019

Eliana Juarez soaks up the applause after winning the spelling bee.There's nothing quite like that "I got this" grin on a winning speller's face when they get their final word in a spelling bee.  Eliana Juarez already knew the feeling -- after all, she was the defending Rio Rancho spelling champion and was runner-up at the state spelling bee last year. 

Spelling bee winners Eliana Juarez, Adrian de la Pena, and Julia MontoaOn January 17, 2019, at  the 25th annual Rio Rancho spelling bee, the grin was back.  
In a tough, 15-round contest Juarez, from Mountain View Middle School, prevailed over two-time former Rio Rancho bee champion Adrian de la Peña from Rio Rancho Middle School.  Both students are eighth graders.  The third-place finisher, sixth-grader Julia Montoya from Lincoln Middle School, will be the alternate in case either of the top two spellers are unable to compete in the state competition. 

Speller Isaiah Chavez from MLK ElementarySpellers in the Rio Rancho Bee compete in three preliminary competition rounds and earn points for correct answers.  This format gives all of the competing students multiple opportunities to show off their spelling and vocabulary skills in front of their parents and bee spectators without the fear of being eliminated. The top ten spellers and ties move on to compete in the finals.

In a very tough field this year, spellers had to be perfect in the preliminaries to advance.  Based on the point system, 11 of the 27 spellers gave correct answers in all three of their preliminary rounds to move on to the elimination rounds. 

Speller Eliana Juarez, the bee winnerSpeller Adrian de la PenaIn Round 9, with the field whittled down to the top three, Julia Montoya missed the word “artesian” to leave the stage to former champions Juarez and de la Peña.  Over the next five rounds, both spellers had chances to win the championship when their opponent misspelled, but neither could close the deal by correctly spelling a second championship word.  Finally, in Round 14, de la Peña barely missed on the word “diaspora,” and Juarez correctly spelled “gingivitis.”  Juarez then correctly spelled “torotoro” – a word of unknown linguistic origin which is the name of an orange-beaked bird in New Guinea – to take home the title. 

The Rio Rancho Bee includes two vocabulary rounds, one in the preliminaries and one in the finals.  For the past couple of years the National Spelling Bee has strongly emphasized vocabulary in its competition in recognition of the fact that it is important for students to know what words mean as well as be able to spell them correctly.  Vocabulary rounds are included in both the state and National Spelling Bee. 

Rio Rancho spelling bee competitors

The New Mexico State Spelling Bee will be held on Saturday March 23 at 9 AM at Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque and will feature the best spellers from 22 of New Mexico’s 33 counties.  In last year’s state bee, Rio Rancho spellers finished second and fourth.  The winner of the state bee competes in the 2019 National Spelling Bee.

Competitors from 15 schools participated in this year’s Rio Rancho District Spelling Bee, held on Thursday, January 17 at Maggie Cordova Elementary School.  The schools represented in the bee include all ten RRPS elementary schools, Lincoln, Mountain View, and Rio Rancho Middle Schools, St. Thomas Aquinas School, and the middle school grades at the Rio Rancho Cyber Academy.