‘Millet’ for the win: State spelling bee finalists go 29 rounds head-to-head

“Your word: privet,” said pronouncer Paul Hopkins at the New Mexico State Spelling Bee on Saturday.

“Huh?” asked 11-year-old speller Eren Zeynalov, in response.

Eren, a fifth grader at Manzano Day School, was one of the state’s 25 best spellers competing in the state bee hosted at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

He went on to spell “privet” correctly, and ultimately advanced to the finals.

Keith Lee, a sixth grader at Albuquerque Academy with ambitions to play shortstop for his favorite baseball team, the Houston Astros, spelled the winning word: millet, a type of seeded grass. Keith will now travel to the Washington, D.C., area in May to represent New Mexico in the national bee.

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