MISSION - 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). Lila Nunez de Caceres from R. Cantu Jr. High School (RCJH) won this year’s annual district spelling bee. She now advances to the Annual Rio Grande Valley Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 7, at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen.

Zulay Barajas from RCJH came in second place. Third place went to Caleb Garcia from Mims Elementary School.

Contestants came from each Mission CISD elementary school and junior high school, and included students in grades 3-8. The other top spellers who competed in this year’s Mission CISD District Spelling Bee were: Briseyda Pena and Kara Hernandez from Alton Elementary School; Amaris Martinez and Arianah Pena from Bryan Elementary School; Ethan Escalona and Mileen Hernandez from Cantu Elementary School; Sofia Montemayor and Jacob Hilton from Castro Elementary School; Jesus Israel Gonzalez and Ivanna Hinojosa from Cavazos Elementary School; Jacklyn Guerrero and Mark Granados from Escobar/Rios Elementary School; Hezekiah Thomas and Frida Lopez from Leal Elementary School; Jose Cruz and Pablo Cuevas from Marcell Elementary School; Stella Venecia and Kiyanna Martinez from Midkiff Elementary School; Isabell Garcia from Mims Elementary School; Victor Mireles and Marco Lopez from O’Grady Elementary School; Anali Ascencio and Santiago Ramos from Pearson Elementary School; Briana Santoy and Brenda Ramirez from Salinas Elementary School; Mea Constantino and Emily Delgado from Waitz Elementary School; Samantha Murillo and John Saenz from Alton Memorial Jr. High School; Jazmine C. Hernandez and Librardo Vasquez from Mission Jr. High School; Alexa Tovar and Midiam Cruz from K. White Jr. High School.