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MPS Spelling Bee Champions competed with English as their second language

Posted at 6:55 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 20:01:37-04

MILWAUKEE — Dozens of middle schoolers across eight different Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) braved the bright lights and big stage to compete in the district's spelling bee.

Two of the three champions came from Humbolt Park School, but spelling each word correctly was only half of the challenge for 8th grader Rojinah Faruk and 6th grader Rachel Lar.

"My heart was beating very fast because there were a lot of people looking at me," said Faruk.

"I was nervous about speaking in front of the microphone, because it'd be broadcasted," said Lar.

The two were able to overcome their nerves and articulate each letter perfectly, landing them gold trophies.

"I don't think that any of these kids have ever been on a stage or spoken to an audience, they just had the poise," said Jennifer Mccoy, a teacher at Humbolt.

Mccoy helped students prepare for the bee, but saw something particularly unique about this group.

"Most of the students that participated have English as their second language."

This was the case for both Faruk and Lar who placed first.

"When I saw them, they looked really happy for me and also shocked because they didn't know that I was studying so much and that I knew how to spell all these large words," said Lar.

"My parents, well, since they don't know much English, I practiced by myself and with my little brother," said Faruk.

This marks the first spelling bee for the district in 15 years.

Congrats, champs!

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