On a Mission to get New York State Spelling Bee Champ to Nationals

June, 2012 from the archives.

I am blessed with a love for writing, but I have my shortcomings when it comes to being print perfect...thank you spell-check gods...

I was recently introduced to a young girl from the city of Newburgh who is a spelling whiz. In fact, she is the NY State champion. Ruth Senmache has a powerful young mind rooted in rules of alphabet, language and accent marks. Accent marks? Yes, Ruth-having grown up in an all-Spanish-speaking-home is bilingual and functions as a 12-year-old translator to her all Spanish speaking parents.

The 6th grader from Heritage Junior High endured 5 rounds of classroom competition and ultimately advanced to the New York State Spelling Bee in Manhattan. There she rounded off with 74 other students and earned first place after correctly spelling “deshueser” and “abyeccion”.

In 2011 the City of Newburgh issued Ruth Senmache a Certificate of Recognition for her hard work and perseverance. It was signed by Mayor Nicholas Valentine, Deputy Mayor Regina Angelo, Councilwoman Marge Bell, Coucilwoman Christine Bello and Councilman Curlie Dillard. She won two jet blue tickets for her victory in the big city, but insufficient funds kept her from being able to attend last year’s finals. Ruth's advocates are currently negotiating with Jet Blue to extend their one-year expiration so that the tickets can be used to get her to Albuquerque this month so that she can attend the Second Annual National Spanish Spelling Bee.

It is being organized by the New Mexico Association for Bilingual Education (NMABE) and the Alliance for Multilingual Multicultural Education (AMME).

The Bee is modeled after NMABE’s annual state Spanish Spelling Bee, which has been held in New Mexico since 1994. David Briseño, executive director of NMABE, is leading the effort with the assistance of a local planning group.

NMABE agreed to waive Ruth's registration fee and pay for her lodging in order to help make it possible for her to be in attendance at this deserving event. The city of Newburgh resident and her family are not able to personally fund the trip.

The Bee offers the opportunity for all Spanish-speaking kids across the nation, be they mother-tongue speakers or children who are learning the language, to showcase their command of Spanish spelling.

The Newburgh Business Association in conjunction with Happy Hudson Valley and a few friends are on a mission to get Ruth to New Mexico next month to take her rightful place among her the best Spanish spellers in the nation.

The finalists will enjoy accommodations at the Radisson hotel compliments of NMABE, an evening pizza party and a trip to the water park. The competition will take place at 9:30 am on Saturday morning - July 21st, 2012. It will be followed by an awards dinner later that evening.

Contributions to helping make this trip possible can be mailed to:
Happy Hudson Valley Po BOX 1441 Newburgh, NY 12551.

* Situation Update* Jet Blue was able to extend their tickets to include July's dates...city of Newburgh businesses successfully pooled funds in order to send Ruth to compete. Way to go!!