Hannah Pengosro won the Navajo Nation Spelling Bee on March 17.

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FARMINGTON – A Central Consolidated School District student will competed at a national spelling bee in May after winning a regional spelling bee earlier this month.

Hannah Pengosro, a sixth grade student at Newcomb Middle School, took first place at the Navajo Nation Spelling Bee sponsored by the Navajo Times on March 17 at the Navajo Technical University campus in Crownpoint.

She will travel to National Harbor, Md., near Washington, D.C., to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 25-27.

“I feel really proud to represent this great community,” Pengosro said.

Julie Palmer, a former Kirtland Middle School student, also participated in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2001.

Pengosro is one of two New Mexico middle school students who will participate this year in the national spelling bee. Valerie Miller, E.W. Scripps Company spokeswoman, said in an email that Ariel Kokoricha, an eighth-grade student at Clovis Christian Schools, also will be competing.

Ethel Manuelito, Newcomb Middle School principal, said she was very proud of Pengosro and her accomplishments.

Pengosro finished in first place at the Newcomb Middle School spelling bee, then won the Shiprock Agency Spelling Bee at the Shiprock Youth Complex, which qualified her for the Navajo Nation Spelling Bee.

With the help of her mother, Newcomb Middle School teacher Gloria Pengosro, Hannah spent about one to two hours a night practicing her spelling skills with flash cards to prepare for each event.

Newcomb Middle School special education teacher Maria Sanchez worked with Pengosro as her spelling bee adviser and would ask her daily if she was practicing at home.

“She did a great job. She reviewed a lot,” Sanchez said. “She’s a diligent student."

Pengosro said she won the Navajo Nation Spelling Bee in the 39th round, spelling antipasto to win first place over Kelly Haven. The two students competed against each other for nearly two hours, according to Pengosro.

During the trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Pengosro said she plans to visit a number of museums in Washington, including the International Spy Museum and several Smithsonian museums.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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