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Southern New Mexican Wins National Spanish Spelling Bee

Simon Thompson

The nation’s best Spanish spellers flocked to Albuquerque over the weekend to compete in the national Spanish Spelling Bee. For the fourth year in a row, a southern New Mexican took home the title. 

Santa Teresa Middle School 8th grader Andres Arreola won this years competition, defending his 2014 title.

“I feel so good winning because it is something that you wish and wish for and then you know you got it. It feels so good!” said Arreola.

The national Spanish spelling bee is in its fifth year. David Briseño founded the event to elevate the status of Spanish and bilingual education. But he says if it is going to do that, the event has some catching up to do with the English Bee. Especially in terms of funding and student sponsors. 

“I have known some students that weren’t able to make it because they didn’t have the funding or their parents couldn’t come up with the money to pay for the airfare.” said David Briseño

Currently, the New Mexico Association of Bilingual Education is the national event’s largest financial supporter.

Next year, the competition will relocate to San Antonio, Texas in hopes of reaching more bilingual students and a larger Hispanic media market.

With spellers coming from as far away as Virginia and Massachusetts, this year’s Spanish spelling bee saw students from more states than ever before. 


Simon Thompson was a reporter/producer for KRWG-TV's Newsmakers from 2014 to 2017. Encores of his work appear from time to time on KRWG-TV's Newsmakers and KRWG-FM's Fronteras-A Changing America.