Spelling Bee a chance of a lifetime for Tucumcari teen

Learning a lesson in responsibility won Tucumcari Middle School seventh-grader Michael Martinez the trip of a lifetime.
Martinez recently represented eastern New Mexico at the 76th Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. after winning the regional competition in Clovis after correctly spelling “diadem,” which means “a crown of jewels, specifically worn as a badge of royalty.”
Besides it being the 13-year-old’s first time in an airplane Martinez was more than amazed at everything he saw after arriving in D.C.
“The most unforgettable thing was the Franklin Delanore Roosevelt Memorial,” said Martinez, recalling his new favorite Roosevelt quote. “‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ (That quote) really left an impression on me I can remember thinking about it when I was on stage.”
Even though Martinez was the first speller eliminated at the competition what he gained from his entire adventure has left him with a positive attitude about his chances of becoming a national competitor again next year.
“This experience has taught me responsibility, how to be patient and helped me to learn how to focus and focusing on the spelling be has helped me focus more on school making me a better student,” Martinez said. “I’ve already started studying for next year’s competition now that I’ve been there I know what to expect.”
Martinez was one of three New Mexico students competing in the bee, which had a total 251 competitors.
Determined is how Rita Martinez described her son, who she believes has learned enough about dedication to what it take in order compete again at nationals.
“I was in total awe when I found out Michael was going to nationals it has been a dream of his since he was in the fourth grade,” Rita said. “I’m hoping he makes it to Washington again and if it happens now we know more or less how to prepare, but this was definitely a great experience everywhere we turned people offered their support.”