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Posted: February 1, 2024

Ventana Ranch 5th Grader Wins APS Spelling Bee

Felix Romero spelled ‘legato’ correctly to win the district championship.

From left, Nicholas Marlantes, Felix Romero, and Aneiya McNutt.

From left, Nicholas Marlantes, Felix Romero, and Aneiya McNutt.

Felix Romero, a fifth-grader at Ventana Ranch Elementary, spelled “legato” correctly in the championship round to win the APS Spelling Bee.

Legato is a word used to describe musical performances. It means “in a manner that is smooth and connected between successive tones.”

Forty-eight students in third through eighth grades competed in the spelling bee, which was held on Jan. 19 at the Albuquerque High School Performing Arts Center.

Romero prevailed in the 11th round.

Coming in second was Aneiya McNutt, a seventh-grader from Coyote Willow Family School. Nicholas Marlantes, a fifth-grader from Coronado Dual Language Magnet School, came in third.

Other APS students qualifying to compete in the online state qualifying spelling bee are: Stellamae Ogunyemi, from Hoover Middle School; Gaige Schuler, of Mitchell Elementary; Sabreen Siba, of North Star Elementary; Dheeraj Kakumanu, of Arroyo Delo Oso; Salma Katheeb, of Dennis Chavez Elementary; Sydney Pool, of Georgia O’Keeffe Elementary; and Taryn Werme, of Cleveland Middle.

The district bee was coordinated by Cheryl Wheeler, executive director of elementary learning at APS, and Ashley Griego, executive administrative assistant. Judges were Joyce Gormley, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction; Channell Segura, chief of schools, and Jonathan Saiz, principal supervisor for elementary leadership and learning.

The competition is part of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. To compete at the district level, students had to be the top spellers in their classrooms. The winners of each classroom bee advanced to the schoolwide competition. Winners of schoolwide spelling bees were able to compete at the district level.

The New Mexico online state qualifying bee will be held on Feb. 28. The New Mexico State Spelling Bee champion will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent New Mexico at the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee.