The Spelling Bee – A Great Academic Competition


Your word is ascension.

Ascension  a-s-c-e-n-t-i-o-n ascension

‘ding’

Thus ended my spelling bee years.  I took thirteenth place in the state competition.  I was in eighth grade.  The spelling bee ends in eighth grade.  I was disappointed, but I was glad to have participated.  I am a huge advocate of The Spelling Bee – A Great Academic Competition!

Every year I watch and prepare for students for The Spelling Bee - A Great Academic Competition.

The spelling bee has never left my blood.  Every year, I watch the National Spelling Bee with bated breath.  Every year I am excited to see the returning spellers, and the new ones.

I also have fought, endlessly, for the opportunity for kids that I teach to have the opportunity to compete in the spelling bee.  I have worked with my daughter on the spelling bee words for several years, even though she has never been in a position to go to the National Spelling Bee.  She has won several spelling bees, and hopefully, next year, we will have a sponsor for her school so that she can at least have a chance.

But why?

Why is the spelling bee so important to me and millions of other kids and parents?  What does it provide?

I think the answer to that is challenge.

We like being challenged.  We like the fight and the thrill of competition.

The spelling bee gave me that opportunity.  The spelling bee gave me a place where I could shine.  It was something that I looked forward to every year.

My oldest daughter, a Spelling Bee Champion (as  a Third Grader)!

My Fifth Grader, winning a spelling bee as a Third Grader.

The spelling bee is hard in that there is only one (or, two, as Vanya and Gokul showed us) champion(s).  That means that everyone else has to lose.  Also, it is an individual competition.  When you are up at the microphone, it is you and only you.  You don’t have anyone else to blame.  If you are eliminated it is only your fault.  This is extremely difficult.  In a team sport, you win as a team, but you also lose as a team.

But, this losing, this failure, inspired in me a desire to get better.  I don’t remember what word I missed my fourth grade year.  But, I do remember how it made me feel.  I didn’t like it.  I wasn’t going to do it again.  Then, when I lost again in the fifth grade, I had to deal with it.  I had to realize that I still hadn’t achieved my goal.  I didn’t win my school spelling bee until I was in the eighth grade.  That was hard.  But, I kept going.  It was exhilarating when I was pronounced school champion in the eighth grade.   Then, when I won the district bee that same year, I was ecstatic.

Then, I was eliminated in the state competition.  It was disappointing, but I had learned so much.  I had learned how to keep going in the face of failure.  I had learned how to lose.  I had learned perseverance.  I had learned tenacity.  I had learned how to spell a lot of words.

I will continue to fight for the spelling bee.  Hopefully this year, I will be able to help my daughter prepare for a national-qualifying spelling bee.  But, anyway about it, I will continue to fight and advocate for programs like the spelling bee that help kids learn the important life skills.  These programs that help students learn to succeed and to fail — that push kids to be better.

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