DeSoto ISD Participates in Their First Spanish Spelling Bee

Spanish spelling bee trophy
Photo courtesy DeSoto ISD

DESOTO – It was the first year DeSoto ISD participated in the Spanish Spelling Bee, and it was certainly a success.

All bilingual students in grades 3 to 5 participated in the initial written spelling competition in the classroom before specific students were chosen to participate in the spelling bee.

The top three students from each classroom were invited to participate in the Spanish Spelling Bee, and first place and runner-ups were selected.

“The Spanish Spelling bees are an opportunity for our students to build confidence, practice public speaking and communication, and think and perform under pressure,” said Frank Moates Elementary Bilingual Teacher Ms. Catherine Chavez Fields. “The top three students from each grade level received the sample Spanish Spelling Bee list to take home. Students and parents were encouraged to work on the Spanish spelling words at home. Students had a chance to practice in the auditorium and watched videos of other school districts that participated in the Region Spanish Spelling Bee.”

DeSoto ISD’s Bilingual/ESL and LOTE Director Dr. Helena Castanon Vargas and Ana Coca Bilingual ESL Instructional Coach along with a host of district bilingual educators led the spelling bee process. Judges were composed of classroom teachers for the precursory spelling and written competition. From there, one finalist and one runner-up participated in the March 2023 Region 10 Spanish Spelling Bee.

The Regional Spanish spelling bee is held annually and referred to as Region X. The Region X just celebrated its 7th Annual Spanish Spelling Bee, this was the first time De Soto ISD has participated in the Spanish version.

Region X Spanish Spelling Bee has three competition bands; Grade 3 only, 4 and 5, and 6 and 8.

The top three students participated in the Spanish Spelling Bee Tournament at Frank Moats Elementary.  The winner from Grade 3 and the winner from Grade 4 and 5 were then selected. At McCowen Middle School and DeSoto West Middle School, grade 6 to 8 newcomer students participated in the written Spanish spelling competition.

Melissa Torres Verduy
Melissa Torres Verduy Photo credit DeSoto ISD

The following students participated in the recent Spanish Spelling Bee:

DeSoto ISD First Place winners are Brianna Jaurez, 3rd Grade, Frank D. Moates Elementary School, Irene Martinez, 5th Grade, Frank D. Moates Elementary School, and Melissa Torres Verduy, DeSoto West Middle School.

DeSoto ISD Runner-Ups are Camila Botello, Frank D. Moates Elementary School, Stacey Alvarez, Frank D. Moates Elementary School, and Keyla Pinon Cortes, Curtistene S. McCowan Middle School.

Region X Winner will participate in the next level competition in El Paso, Texas.

“We are always so proud of our student’s accomplishments,” said DeSoto ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Usamah Rodgers. “For our students to compete in the Region 10 Spanish Spelling Bee with peers from across the metroplex and to place among scholars from other high-performing schools speaks to their talent and potential.” The District has participated in several English Spelling Bees in the past.

According to Tiffanie Blackmon-Jones, DeSoto ISD, Communications, Marketing, and Engagement, the last English Spelling Bee the district participated in was in 2019 before the pandemic.