Albuquerque to Host Second Annual Santillana National Spanish Spelling Bee
Source: David Briseño
The National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will host the Second Annual Santillana National Spanish Spelling Bee on July 21, 2012.
The Second Annual National Spanish Spelling Bee is again being organized by the New Mexico Association for Bilingual Education (NMABE) and the Alliance for Multilingual Multicultural Education (AMME). The Bee is modeled after NMABE’s annual state Spanish Spelling Bee, which has been held in New Mexico since 1994. David Briseño, executive director of NMABE, is leading the effort with the assistance of a local planning group.
The event offers the opportunity for all Spanish-speaking kids across the nation, be they mother-tongue speakers or children who are learning the language, to showcase their command of Spanish spelling.
This year’s event will bring together 19 students from 7 states to compete for the honor of being the Santillana National Spanish Bee champion. “We have grown a little from last year’s event,” stated Briseño. “We have either more students participating this year from 7 states. That is up from the four states represented last year.” The 19 students will come from the states of California, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Oregon.
Although Spanish is considered a “morphophonemic” language in which it is relatively easy to spell, the Spanish Bee challenges native and non-native speakers alike to excel in important academic arenas within the language arts. Beyond the act of actually spelling, Spanish diacritical marks are also a challenge for students. It is much more than just memorizing spellings.
As contestants prepare for the National Bee, they accrue valuable skills for academic learning. For example, they develop dictionary skills as they look up definitions, building greater understanding of the language. Word origins are also analyzed, and since thousands of Spanish words come from Greek, Latin and Arabic, the contestants increase their lexical repertoire which helps in many areas of study, such as math, science, literature, etc. Finally, Spelling Bees not only validate and give equity to the Spanish language, but also contribute greatly to the development of a positive self-image for the contestants.