ESC Region 12
News & Announcements
ESC Region 12 to Host Annual Regional Spanish Spelling Bee on February 22

WHO: Students from eight Region 12 school districts 

WHAT: Region 12 Spanish Spelling Bee

WHEN: February 22, 2024, from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: 2101 W Loop 340, Waco, TX 76712

WACO, TX – Education Service Center Region 12 will host the Second Annual Region 12 Spanish Spelling Bee on Thursday, February 22, at 9:00 a.m. Although this will be the second Spanish spelling bee in the region, it will be the first time the event is hosted at the service center.

“I think it’s important to host this Spanish Spelling Bee to enhance Spanish language education,” said Faith Foster, an education specialist at ESC Region 12. “It gives students who are learning the opportunity to use their skills and to have something to look forward to practicing for.”

The Region 12 Spanish Spelling Bee came to life after a call from Brenda Salazar, Foster said. Salazar, a Spanish teacher at Wortham ISD, was inspired by the ESC Region 20 Spanish Spelling Bee and felt motivated to bring the event to the region. She pitched the idea to Foster, and the two worked together to start the Region 12 Spanish Spelling Bee in February of 2023. 

“Being in the classroom with students that want to learn and celebrate the language gave me the courage to start something for them,” Salazar said. “It is my hope that by hosting this Spanish Spelling Bee, we can make a positive impact not only on the native Spanish-speaking students but on native English-speaking students as well.” 

The pilot spelling bee was hosted at Wortham High School, Salazar’s home campus, and was a high school-level competition. A total of six school districts from Freestone and Limestone counties participated. Even before the pilot, Foster knew it would become an annual event and looked forward to bringing it to the service center and getting more districts involved, she said.

This year, the Region 12 Spanish Spelling Bee will be split into two sections. Students in grades four through eight will compete first, then high school students will compete in the second section. The event will work much like a traditional spelling bee, except participants will be able to write the word on a whiteboard to help them visualize, Foster said. Students will also have to make sure to use accent marks and other identifying factors unique to the Spanish language. The judging panel will be comprised of volunteers, including a professor from Baylor University, a Bilingual/ESL consultant from Education Service Center Region 20 and an educator from Pflugerville ISD.

“I hope this makes heritage speakers proud of their language and helps them realize that speaking Spanish is a huge asset to them,” Foster said. “I also hope it brings attention to non-native speakers and the power of learning a second language in a multicultural world.”

The top two students from the elementary section will receive prizes during an award ceremony at approximately 10:00 a.m., and the high school section award ceremony will be at approximately 1:00 p.m. Members of the media are welcome to attend the award ceremonies and speak to the winners.