After starting with a field of 36 competitors, it took about two hours to whittle that number down to one person who is this year’s top speller in Mission Consolidated Independent School District (CISD). John Saenz, a seventh grader from Alton Memorial Jr. High School (AMJH) won this year’s annual district spelling bee. Saenz now advances to the Annual Rio Grande Valley Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 2, at South Texas College in Weslaco.

Alec Hernandez, a fifth grader from Alton Elementary School came in second place. Third place went to Jesse Rodriguez, a fifth grader from Cavazos Elementary School. Fourth place went to Jonathan Moreno from Mims Elementary School. Matthew Adame from R. Cantu Jr. High School earned fifth place.

Contestants came from each Mission CISD elementary school and junior high school, and included students in grades 2-8. The other top spellers who competed in this year’s Mission CISD District Spelling Bee were: Isabella Gonzalez and Alfredo Mayorga from Capt. J. Castro Elementary School; Henry Santos and Galilea Hernandez from Pearson Elementary School; Marla “Molly” Gonzalez from Alton Memorial Jr. High School; Ezequiel Torres and Moses Hernandez from Escobar/Rios Elementary School; Jordan Briseno and Jazmine Hernandez from Salinas Elementary School; Cristian Quintero from R. Cantu Jr. High School; David Olguin and Katelyn Lopez from K. White Jr. High School; Victor Mireles and Alondra Gomez from O’Grady Elementary School; Aubriana Lopez from Mims Elementary School; Calista Gonzalez and Amelie Normandia from Leal Elementary School; Librado Vasquez and Valeria Garza from Bryan Elementary School; Brianna Ulloa from Alton Elementary School; Andrea Salgado and Stella Venecia from Midkiff Elementary School; Isabella Pastor and Ethan Reyna from Waitz Elementary School; Kaylee Alaniz and Jubilee Garza from Mission Jr. High School; Daniel Salinas Espino from Cavazos Elementary School; Erika Faz and Mia Virrueta from Cantu Elementary School; Jose Flores and Amber Cortez from Marcell Elementary School.