Houston schools top national vocabulary competition

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Two Houston-area schools are sitting at the top of a national vocabulary contest, beating out thousands of other schools across the U.S. and Canada. (KTRK)

Chavez High School students hoisted a huge trophy at an assembly Monday morning, not for an athletic victory, but a vocabulary victory.

It's called the Vocabulary Bowl. Using an online game, the students mastered more than 344,000 words since the beginning of October, beating out more than 23,000 schools across North America for the title. At the top of the student leader list, Natalia Andrade.

"For the vocabulary bowl, I mastered 6,969 words," said Andrade.

She says she played the academic game all the time -- in class or on a smart phone -- always learning!

"Last week, I took an AP exam and I used a word that I learned at Vocabulary.com, and that was cool. I never thought I'd actually use all these thousands of words," said Andrade.

Not far behind was her classmate, Alicia Quintania, who says knowing so many new words gives her confidence.

"Here in Houston, Chavez isn't seen as a very good school, but we're very smart, so we can do this," said Quintania.

Their new vocabulary helps them in all facets of life.

"So the science teacher is assigning science vocabulary, the English teacher is assigning word lists related to the books their reading in class," said Georgia Scurletis of Vocabulary.com.

Their principal, Rene Sanchez, says he'll be monitoring test scores and other academic measurements for a correlation between the students accomplishments at Vocabulary.com and their school work.

"Whether they're measured for the state tests, or college entrance exams, they require a strong vocabulary," said Sanchez.

Students like Isaac Luna describe this as an investment in themselves.

"It's a game for school, so you're learning, and so you're not really throwing your time away into something, like a Call of Duty game," said Luna.

Two other local schools finished in the top five in the competition. Lanier Middle School came second and Bellaire High School ranked fourth.

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