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YWLA junior wins Region Spanish Spelling Bee

YWLA Spelling Bee WinnerFor YWLA junior Paola Jauregui De La Rosa, the Spanish Spelling Bee is just the thing she does. She has competed annually since she was in second grade at Highland Park Elementary, and just brought home another first place win for the district at the ESC Region 20 Spanish Spelling Bee Feb. 2. 


About a month before the event, Jauregui De La Rosa got out her list from district, highlighting words she wanted to go review. Two weeks before, she sat down and had help from her mother and Spanish teacher Marie Marks, who would both read words to her for her to spell.


She made a list for herself of words she wanted to remember. And on competition day, she listens only to Spanish music.


Her systematic approach has paid off.


She’s been to the regional Bee a half dozen times, outright winning her grade level in half those appearances. In fifth and eighth grade, she went to the National Spanish Spelling Bee, earning a spot in a seven-way tie for first place in eighth grade. 


“I met Paola in seventh grade when she tested into my Spanish 4 AP class,” Marks said.  “She was shy as the youngest in a class full of high school students. She has participated in Spanish Spelling Bee every year and in our campus study sessions and contests, many times mentoring younger students and teaching them the tricks and strategies we use in our practices. Paola motivates other YWLA students to participate and studies with them, giving herself a more challenging contest in the long run.”


Last week’s region win was her second in high school and is the farthest high school students can advance. 


As the competition was narrowing, Jauregui De La Rosa worked to keep herself mentally prepared.


“I think about how long I’ve been doing it,” she said. “We have all practiced and are all very good; everyone deserves to be here, but I do want to win. I breathe and take my time.”


Using her slow and steady approach, Jauregui De La Rosa spelled correctly the final word — ascendiente — securing her latest win. 


Treasurer of the Spanish Honors Society, she is also active in in National Honor Society, choir, Young Poets' Society, Academic Decathlon and UIL. But for this competition, the native speaker, who lived a year in Mexico, and grew up reading, writing and speaking in both English and Spanish, said her study team really helped make the difference.


“I want to thank Ms. Marks and my mom,” she said. “They really helped me study and because of them I was able to do my best.”


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