Now entering its third year, the bilingual spelling bee series is one of Have Faith Haiti’s most anticipated events on the school calendar and for the community. Held on Thursday, June 22 and attended even by visitors from outside of the Mission, this year’s English Spelling Bee was led by School Director Cara Nesser. (Our French Spelling Bee will be on July 5th.)
The words in both Bees are ones that we use in school all year. The children are not given random, unfamiliar words to memorize. They are expected to be able to read, define, and use the words in context long before the Spelling Bee. Two weeks prior to the competition, each class is given a list of 124 words from their studies in the current school year, and organized from easiest to most difficult. They have two weeks to practice and prepare. Every child in the competing classes takes part. It is a highlight of the school year. Winners receive certificates and prizes related to literacy.
This year, for the first time, there were four competitions: Beginner Spelling Bee was for our youngest primary students. This is the first year we have extended the Spelling Bee to their level, but as they have been working with challenging vocabulary all year, they were ready! They had to spell words like seismologist, tectonic, crevasse and Caspian Sea. Danois was the winner, spelling Caribbean correctly. Our Runner Up was Josue.
The Junior Spelling Bee was especially exciting. This was also the first time these children had competed. In the last round, Samanza and Enolyka were in a tie for first place that could not be broken, even after words like chlorophyll, apostrophe, phosphorus and cyanobacteria…
So Ms. Cara was forced to bring out the word they dreaded—Deoxyribonucleic Acid! (The real name for DNA) Samanza went first, while Enolyka was isolated in the Sound Proof Booth (No, not really; we don’t have one of those! She was kept out of earshot in another room) Samanza spelled the word correctly, and the excitement was palpable as Enolyka was brought back in for her turn. You could hear a pin drop. And then… she spelled it correctly too! The competition ended with a well-deserved tie for first place! Louvenson became our Junior Spelling Bee Runner Up.
The Senior Spelling Bee is for our oldest Primary students. Last year, the Junior Bee ended in a tie between Widley and Djouna. This year, returning champion Widley won it again in the Senior Bee, with the word Mississippian. And the Runner Up was none other than—Djouna! Well done again!
This year we are proud that 6 of our students have reached the middle school level. This means we have a new, even more difficult Spelling Bee for them! The Middle School Spelling Bee includes words like Paedrophyne Amauensis , bioluminescence, Osteichthyes, Cnidarian, Echinoderm, Aurora Borealis… Our winner was Chivensky who correctly spelled the word Cephalochordate. Our Runner Up was Junie Anna!
Now the children are preparing for the French Bee. Watch this space for the winners!