BY CAMRYN HILL
Fifteen students from all HCISD middle schools competed at the annual District Middle School Spelling Bee on February 4.
This year, the event was held virtually with contestants participating from their respective campuses.
“Our students would walk up to the laptop that was connected to the Zoom and spell for the judges when their number was called,” STEM2 Preparatory Campus Spelling Bee sponsor Brittany Johnson said. “They all wore masks, so the biggest challenge was being able to speak loudly and clearly into the microphone so that there were no discrepancies in the spelling of the word.”
Leila Canales, a seventh-grader from STEM2 Preparatory Academy was named District Champion and eighth grader, Owen Dorman from STEM2 Preparatory Academy was named runner-up. Canales and Dorman will both represent HCISD at the 33rd Annual Rio Grande Valley Regional Spelling Bee on March 6.
“The word that I won with was delicacy,” Canales said. “To me, it is pretty surreal and mind boggling. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it [being named District Champion]. I truly am honored. I would like to thank my family for helping me study and for all of their love and encouragement. I would also like to thank all of my friends and teachers for rooting me on.”
The winner of the Rio Grande Regional Spelling Bee will have the opportunity to advance to the National Spelling Bee held in June 2021.
“I am so proud of all of our students and their hard work in studying a massive word list on top of the rigorous requirements placed on them academically every day,” Johnson said.
2021 HCISD Spelling Bee Participants
Vincent Tapia Coakley Middle School
Aryanna Renteria Coakley Middle School
Christian Chino Coakley Middle School (STEM2)
Bianca M. Rios Gutierrez Middle School
Zachary Gonzalez Lamar Gutierrez Middle School
Cecilia Rodriguez Gutierrez Middle School (STEM2)
Julianne Pacheco Memorial Middle School
Natalia Moreno Memorial Middle School
Leila Canales Memorial Middle School (STEM2)
Kyah Walker Vela Middle School
Samuel Castillo Vela Middle School
Owen Dorman Vela Middle School (STEM2)
Lola Tamez Vernon Middle School
Akira Villarreal Vernon Middle School
Olivia Luna Vernon Middle School (STEM2)