Spanish spells success for Perse pupils

Ariana Sabourian (left) and Jo Zhou

Jo Zhou and Ariana Sabourian (both Year 7) have displayed superb Spanish skills to qualify for the Foreign Language Spelling Bee national finals.

They finished second and third respectively in the Spanish section of the regional finals, while fellow Perse pupil Fraya Sudeep (Year 7) also took part in the French category.

To reach the regional stage, they had to come through two rounds held in school, attempting to learn an increasing number of words in Spanish and/or French as they progressed.

Jo also had the chance to participate in the French regional final, but elected to focus on Spanish.

She said she was thoroughly enjoying taking part in the competition, which sees contestants given a word in English that they have to translate into the relevant language before saying the spelling out loud.

Jo said: “I found it quite hard at first because none of my family are Spanish or French, but after the first two rounds, I became quite obsessive! It’s just really good fun.

“I really like languages because it’s very satisfying to know you can speak to other people around the world if you go on holiday or learn about different cultures.”

Meanwhile, Ariana, whose mum hails from Spanish-speaking Peru, said the experience so far had helped improve her grasp of the language.

She said: “It’s helped me a lot with my vocabulary in general and pronunciation, especially because we’ve learned words that we don’t learn in the normal curriculum.

“I talk a little bit with my mum at home, but it’s useful when she’s talking to my grandmother in Peru and I can understand a bit better what they’re saying.”

Both Jo and Ariana said the MFL Spelling Bee Club, led by French teacher Hannah Roberts, had been a big help in preparing them for each round of the competition.

They will now aim to showcase their espectacular español in the national final at Cambridge University later this month.

Jo said: “I was surprised to get to the final and it’s going to be even more competitive, but I’m going to try my best,” while Ariana commented: “I’m so happy to get to the final and I’m really excited about taking part.”

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