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Diné Spelling Bee winners announced

Elementary, middle and high school students participate in spelling bee
Farmington Municipal Schools District Instructional Facilitator Carmelita Lee assisted students during the spelling bee. (Courtesy Farmington Municipal Schools)

Eleven Farmington Municipal School District schools participated in the 13th annual Diné Spelling Bee on April 2 at Piedra Vista High School’s Turano Chrisman Performing Arts Theatre.

The competition determines the district’s best Diné Bizaad spellers while highlighting Diné culture and song. Students were divided into elementary, middle and high school categories.

Students listened to words like dik’os (cough) and ahdla’áadah (fifteen), wrote them down on a board and pronounced them for the judges. In two of the levels, a glottal stop is what separated first and second place.

The elementary school competition concluded after five rounds. The winning word was k’adí (that is all). Apache Elementary School student Kiara Benally placed first, and Ethan John, also from AES, place second, and Esperanza Elementary student Aydin Aronilth-Toledo placed third.

The middle school competition ended in the second round on the winning word hastóí (elderly man). Chasity Taylor placed first, Makala Taylor placed second, and Jaime Tomasello placed third. All three students were from Tibbetts Middle School.

The high school competition was determined by the word tsintah (among the forest). Farmington High School’s Yazzmine Lee placed first, Piedra Vista High School’s Jalen Harvey placed second, and Ashley Beyale, also from PHVS, placed third.

Spelling bee judges included Jerilynn Goldtooth, Melissa Spencer, Roselyn Begay and Valerie Vicenti.

The event also recognized the district’s Diné teachers and featured musical intermissions by second grade students from Animas Elementary School singing “Navajo Sunrise and Shiyázhí Songs,” the PVHS Indigenous Club and FHS student and master of ceremonies Jayden Begay.

Second grade students from Animas Elementary School perform “Navajo Sunrise and Shiyázhí Songs” during the 13th annual Diné Spelling Bee. (Courtesy Farmington Municipal Schools)

For more information on Farmington Municipal Schools, visit district.fms.k12.nm.us/news.

Republished with permission from Farmington Municipal Schools.