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Students bring their verbal skills to annual Paiute language bowl competition

Annual Paiute Language Bowl on May 24, 2024 in Reno, Nev.
Maria Palma
KUNR Public Radio
Annual Paiute Language Bowl on May 24, 2024 in Reno, Nev.

High school students brought their verbal skills to the annual Paiute language bowl competition.

On May 24, the Washoe County School District (WCSD) hosted the Annual Paiute Language Bowl, where students learning the Paiute language compete to showcase their knowledge and skills.

Students from Wooster, Reed and Spanish Springs high schools joined students from McDermitt Combined School, Yerington High School, and Schurz Elementary School at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony gym, encouraging each other in preserving the Paiute language.

The opportunity also gives native and non-native students the chance to interact with community members, said Anthony Abbie, a Paiute language teacher at Spanish Springs High School and vice chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony.

“There's a lot of elders here from our community and different communities and their parents are here to support them. I think it makes them feel generally happy about what they're doing and why they're taking the class to keep the language going and preserve it,” Abbie said.

Classes are offered to all interested WCSD students who want to study the language and culture.

The goals for the program include being able to form complete sentences and conduct everyday conversations in the Paiute language by the end of their second year.

After a close and friendly competition, Yerington High School took first place, followed by Spanish Springs High School.

Maria joined KUNR Public Radio in December 2022 as a staff reporter. She is interested in stories about underserved communities, immigration, arts and culture, entertainment, education and health.