Spanish spelling bee poses linguistic challenge

La Casa Hispánica, Geneseo’s Spanish Club, held its second annual Spanish spelling bee on Tuesday Feb. 26 in Newton 203.

Twenty-nine contestants started out at level one, or nivel uno. Visiting lecturer of Spanish Kyle Matthews, adjunct instructor of Spanish Rocío Vallejo and adjunct lecturer of Spanish Rosa Pillcurima made up the panel of judges. When a contestant spelled a word incorrectly, using Spanish pronunciations of letters, the judge would ring a bell - if spelled correctly, the judge simply stated “bien” and the contestant lasted another round.

Words ranged in difficulty from escribir and partido, in nivele uno, to charcutería, in nivel ocho. Once per round, each contestant had the opportunity to respell a word before finishing it by raising their hand, pausing and starting over. Contestants could not respell words after being told the spelling was incorrect.

Senior Evan Broomfield came in third place and was eliminated during round seven. In round eight junior Alexa Arata won the match with the word ajonjolí with Sebestián Gutiérrez, at Geneseo for a semester from Argentina, coming in second. All three winners received certificates, with an iPod shuffle and $10 Starbucks gift card going to first, a $20 Starbucks gift card going to second and a $10 Starbucks gift card to third.

Contestants were automatically entered in the evening’s raffle and extra raffle tickets could be bought at the door. Raffle prizes included Uptown Tan and Starbucks gift cards, a free lunch special at Mama Mia’s and lotion from Uptown Tan.

Money raised through the raffle, along with donations and an entry fee of $3 for contestants will go to the Enlace Project in El Sauce, Nicaragua that focuses on educational and financial support of locals. The club raised over $100 for the project.

The Enlace Project counts business consulting and training, access to financial capital through microloans, human capital development and community development among its services. The project originated from a collaboration of the Geneseo campus and the El Sauce Economic Development Program that began in 2006. Since its beginnings at Geneseo, the project has become nonprofit and has spread to other campuses and universities.

“I think the event went really well. We had three new professors as judges,” Spanish Club President senior Kevin Marriott said. “I was very happy with how it went. It’s about the experience the professors and students get to have outside of the classroom.”