Boy wins spelling bee 4 years after learning English

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue May 13 14:09:46 UTC 2008

Forwarded From: edling at

The Evening Sun

Boy wins spelling bee 4 years after learning English

For each of the last 20 years, St. Vincent de Paul School in Hanover has
sent one student to the Harrisburg diocesan spelling bee. No student from
St. Vincent's has ever come close to winning the contest, in which 34
schools compete. No one that is, until Benjamin Gutiérrez won first place on
April 22. The sixth-grader triumphed, winning $1,000 in prizes from
spelling-bee sponsor Houghton Mifflin, $100 in prizes for his teacher,
Kristin Wisner, and a $100 savings bond for himself. All this is more
incredible because, just four years ago, Benjamin did not speak English.
In fact, he was the only spelling-bee contestant not born in the U.S. Benji
came to Hanover from Perú with his family the summer before second grade.
His parents wanted to enroll him in a Catholic school and tried to register
him in another parochial school closer to their home.

Full story:

Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone: (215) 898-7475
Fax: (215) 573-2138

Email: haroldfs at

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