A mere two years ago, a Texas teacher banned speaking Spanish in school. Now, being bilingual is a practical badge of honor.
As the number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. has grown, so too has the popularity of Spanish spelling bees. The sixth annual National Spanish Spelling Bee drew dozens of kids from around the country to San Antonio on Saturday. And for the first time, a Texan won.
Twelve-year-old Jybr Reynoso Hidrogo, a sixth grader from Bradley Middle School in San Antonio, took first prize in the 2016 Spanish spelling bee. He says it took constant practice, with the help of his mother, to prepare for the competition.
“(I studied) two hours or more daily,” Reynoso says. “I studied like an hour on the iPad, and then maybe an hour or more my mother asked me the words and I spelled them orally.”
But the practice paid off when he spelled the winning word, “Tahiti,” and took home the grand prize.
“I started spelling the word, and then when I finished spelling the word, I saw the judge and she said ‘correcto‘ and I just got so happy. I couldn’t believe it,” Reynoso says.
Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.