ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It was a big deal for a young girl.
An APS middle school student won her school spelling bee and advanced to the district championship.
But, when she got there, she and another girl from her school were the only ones there – all because their school gave them the wrong date.
The family says they had to rely on the information McKinley Middle School gave them because the district spelling bee information wasn't posted on the district website, the school website or Facebook.
"I was disappointed," said Erin Brennan. "I'd gone that far and they gave us the wrong date," said Erin Brennan. "I told [the teacher] about it and she said, ‘Oh, no - it was the 25th.' I said ‘No, it was the 24th and we missed it.' She said. ‘Oh, I'm sorry that happened."
This wasn't the first time something like that happened. Erin's won her school's spelling bee the past three years.
"The first time, the school didn't pay the Scripps dues so we found out a few days before weren't going to be able to go," said Erin's mother, Kathryn Luke.
She nearly missed going to District the second time.
"The second time they just didn't have the dates and times. I had to call all over the city to find them," Luke said.
Any parent and child would be disappointed – but winning the spelling bee is an especially important feat for Erin.
Erin was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 5.
"We went through 2 1/2 years of treatment. Doctors said there's a good chance that she might have a learning disability. We're really blessed that she doesn't," Luke said.
Luke says she wants the school to take the spelling bee more seriously – and she wants an apology.
She said she didn't get one until News 13 started making calls.
No one at the school would talk to News 13. But the District says the teacher who made the mistake is sorry.
"[The teacher] acknowledges she made a mistake and she feels really, really bad about it. She unfortunately can't make this event happen again," said spokesperson Monica Armenta.
The family wants the school to post the District Spelling Bee information to their websites so something like this doesn't happen again.
80 students qualified for the District Spelling Bee.
The top students are going on to the state competition in March, which qualifies them for an all-expenses paid trip to the Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington DC in May.
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