Havens once again the family to beat at Fort bee

Boy wearing tie, with giant paper number identification pinned to chest, speaks at microphone with audience behind him.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
St. Michael Indian School 3rd grader Troy Johnson quietly spells a word at the Navajo Nation/Navajo Times Fort Defiance Agency Spelling Bee on Feb. 8 at the Office of Diné Youth in Fort Defiance.


Tsehootsoi Middle School’s Kelly Haven is a seventh-grade spelling p-h-e-n-o-m-e-n-o-n.

She proved it again this year by winning in her grade category for the Navajo Nation/Navajo Times Fort Defiance Agency Spelling Bee held on Feb. 8 at the Office of Diné Youth in Fort Defiance. Last year, Kelly and her two siblings all won their grade categories, giving them the rare opportunity to compete against one another and other students for a spot at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. In the end it was Kelly who won the coveted spot, representing the Navajo Nation.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Ganado Middle School 6th grader Annamarie Yazzie is congratulated by her grandparents, Sammy and Anna Slivers, Feb. 8 in Fort Defiance during the Navajo Nation/Navajo Times Fort Defiance Agency Spelling Bee.

This year, Kelly and her younger sister, Hailey, who won the fifth-grade category and attends Tsehootsooi Intermediate Learning Center, will be heading back to sisterly competition against all five agency winners in hopes to get to the big show in D.C. “It was scary,” said Kelly of her competition, whom she battled for 25 rounds before she was declared the winner. “The other spellers were really good, actually,”

But just like last year, both sisters and their dad, Martin Haven, gave all the glory for their success to their mom, Dina Haven. They all said she works with each of them extensively to help them become the best spellers they can be.

“It’s because of my mom,” said Kelly. “She’s really awesome, really smart and she encourages us to do a lot of stuff.”

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Categories: News

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at abecenti@navajotimes.com.