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New Rochelle Students Spell Success: Spanish Style

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Albert Leonard Middle School eighth grader Paula Chirino came out on top for the third consecutive year at the school’s fourth annual Spanish spelling bee Tuesday.

“It was a little reminder as I look back on my middle school years. It’s been a long journey,” said Chirino. “I’ve been doing it for three years, since the sixth grade. I’d like to thank my dad because he’s the one who got me started.”

Each student was given a word to verbally spell in Spanish and were disqualified if they did not spell it correctly. Eighth grader Nathalie Yoguez came in second place, seventh grader Tatiana Rivera third, Stephanie Gonzalez fourth and Fabian Herrera fifth.

Yoguez was also aiming for first place but said she was content with her second place finish.

“I studied really hard,” she said. “I wanted to come in first place, but it’s ok. At least I tried really hard.”

All five students will move on to the district-wide Spanish spelling bee competition Tuesday at New Rochelle High School. There, they'll go up against the five winners from Isaac Young Middle School.

All 13 participants from Albert Leonard also received a certificate, which acknowledged their involvement in the spelling bee.

“It’s very important to encourage the kids who are native speakers to practice their Spanish and for the ones who are not native speakers,” said Albert Leonard Middle School Spanish teacher Cristina Trabazo. “It’s important to encourage them in something fun working together with the native speakers and with the non-native speakers.”

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