LA teens to compete in first Spanish-language spelling bee for high school students

Teens across L.A. County are getting ready for next month’s first Spanish-language spelling bee for high school students in California.

Marcela Rojas teaches Spanish literature at Azusa Pacific University and helped organize the bee. She said it's open to high school students studying the language — not just native speakers.

“Many of the people – the natives – they just speak the language, but they don’t know how to spell it," Rojas said."On the other hand, people that are non-natives, they know the grammar, but sometimes they have troubling talking.”  

Rojas said there have been Spanish spelling bees in California for elementary and middle school aged-children, but not for high school students until now. Students from ten high schools have already signed up to compete in the spelling bee on April 13 at the Azusa Civic Auditorium.

Rojas said the bee is a chance for students who take Spanish classes to “show off” some of their language skills.

“The problem with these kinds of classes is it’s not like when you are in sports, or in music, or in theater that you can show off what you are learning during the year,” Rojas said. “But I think this is an opportunity for students that maybe they are not good at sports — or whatever — and they can demonstrate that they’ve been learning things.”