Student spells her way to victory

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Valencia Elementary fifth-grader Yesica Saucedo survived an hour-long battle to win the Roosevelt County Spanish Spelling Bee.

Saucedo correctly spelled literatura, which means literature in English, to beat Portales Junior High School’s Russell Van Dam on Monday in the board room of the Portales Schools Administration office.

The two went word for word after six of the eight participants were eliminated in the first round.

“I’m excited,” said Becky Duran, Saucedo’s Spanish teacher. “I couldn’t believe it. I’m pretty proud of her,”

Saucedo said she was nervous during the competition.

“I practiced a long time (for the spelling bee),” she said.

Van Dam was the first Anglo student to participate in the Spanish spelling bee, officials said.

Van Dam said this is his first year studying Spanish.

“I’m exhausted, I didn’t think it would be over. It was very long,” Van Dam said.
Saucedo will represent the county at the state Spanish spelling bee April 28 in Albuquerque, according to Esther Bargas, Portales Schools spelling bee coordinator.