When we hear about gold medals presented to students and competitions being held at schools we usually think about sports events.
Well, St. Joseph’s Elementary School in Harbour Breton, in order to provide an academic competition, to promote the ‘lost art’ of spelling and to have a little fun at the same time, held a Spelling Bee during Education Week 2011.
Although the school is not officially registered with Canspell, the fun-activity did follow the rules, guidelines and structure of the organization.
Terry Baker is the principal of St. Joseph’s Elementary.
Baker said, “We were looking for an academic initiative that would support and shed a spotlight on the importance of literacy skills. All the staff bought into the idea, which was mainly organized by staff member Max Pike. The 15 students who participated in the event were determined by holding grades 4, 5 and 6 spelling bees earlier in March.”
Baker said that St. Joseph’s will register the event with Canspell next school year and the winning student may get to travel for further competitions at the district level.
The 15 students involved in the interesting and entertaining event were Megan Jensen, Erin Bungay, Cameron Strowbridge, Susan Whittle and Kiara Young, Grade 4; Drew Baker, Jordan Hunt, Jarred Johnston, Scott Hynes and Lauren Carter, Grade 5 and Rebecca Day, Taylor Stone, Robbie Langdon, Erica Hynes and Maggie Vaslett, Grade 6.
While the Spelling Bee may have started with rather easy words that quickly changed when the judges upped the ante by asking the students to spell more challenging words such as miraculous, subterranean, rutabaga, centennial, larynx, photosynthesis, psychoanalysis and aggrandizement.
The last three students remaining in the competition after about 20 rounds were Taylor Stone, Erica Hynes and Susan Whittle.
While Susan is in Grade 4 she held her own with the two remaining grade 6 students for several more rounds.
However, she lost out eventually and Taylor and Erica were the last two students standing.
The girls went out for a number of rounds and it seemed like the spelling bee would go on for a long time. In the end however, Taylor was the last student remaining and was declared the inaugural winner of St. Joseph’s annual Spelling Bee.
Taylor received a plaque and a $100 prize for her great spelling. All students received a medallion for taking part in the exciting event.
Canspell is a Postmedia Network literacy initiative that started in 2005 and is designed to engage middle school students (Grades 4 to 8) by celebrating excellence in academic achievement and encouraging positive study habits. In 2010, Canspell engaged more that 1700 schools from St. John’s to Victoria. Some 250,000 students registered at the entry level to compete in school, regional and national competitions.