Thirteen-year-old Mark De Los Santos won the Regional Spelling Bee title with the word “desertification.”
The TCU College of Education held the Regional Spelling Bee March 7.
“I really am excited I’m the champion,” De Los Santos, an eighth-grader at Holy Rosary Catholic School in Arlington, said.
The competition, sponsored by Fort Worth Star Telegram, included 456 schools from 16 different counties in North Texas, Jan Lacina, associate professor of literacy and associate dean of graduate studies, said.
Lacina said students competed in their individual schools followed by 25 area “bee’s” before qualifying for the Regional Spelling Bee held at the university.
Area champions ranging from ages nine to 14 competed in the Regional Spelling Bee competition, Lacina said.
“We are thrilled to have such a variety of bright kids at this event,” she said.
The competition was De Los Santos’ second regional title. He had previously won the regional spelling bee contest in 2010 as a 6th grader, he said.
De Los Santos said he was excited about his upcoming trip to the national competition.
“I am really looking forward to meeting new people and spelling my hardest,” De Los Santos said.
Lacina said the winner of the bee received a paid trip to Washington D.C., as well as the opportunity to audit a class at the university free of charge. Auditing a class means attending the class sessions without receiving credit or being required to take examinations.
De Los Santos said he planned to audit a class at the university upon his return from Washington D.C., after competing in Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 27.
“I’ll probably go to some science class,” he said. “I want to be a neurosurgeon.”And for De Los Santos, winning is not everything.
“My favorite thing about competing is to enrich my vocabulary and grow in the English language,” he said.