Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Can you guess what I did last night?
I went to our local spelling bee.
I didn't get to see the whole thing, because I spent the first hour of it at the central office of the county school system, waiting for them to come out of executive session so I could go in.
They'd been in there since 6:00.
When 8:00 rolled around, I figured I'd better skip across town to the middle school auditorium, and see some kids spell some words.
After watching Akeelah and the Bee, I was a little disappointed at the caliber of words being given to those kids.
"Statute"? "Appetite"? "Crocuses"?
What ever happened to "Prestidigitation?"
At least some of the kids did ask for the language of origin. That was a new one. Must've been inspired by the movie.
Those kids were so pitifully nervous. One, who ended up getting third place, was so nervous he'd sigh heavily and clutch his heart when it came his turn.
And some of the words that tripped these kids up - I mean, they were like something out of a Hollywood script.
The mayor's son? Couldn't spell "Persuade."
The little white girl who couldn't spell "Ghetto."
The kid who spelled "Ceramics" as "Serramix," even after being given a definition and a sentence.
In the end, first place was garnered not by a product of the public school system, but by a homeschooled student. I'm pretty sure she won last year too, or at least placed, because I remember taking her picture.
All in all, I'm not sure it's fair to put the really young kids in with the really older kids. After all, one way to become a good speller is to read good material, and not many of the younger kids have had the opportunity to do that yet.
Now, the first (and I think second) place finishers will advance to the Mid-South bee in Memphis. After that, it's Washington.
I wonder if the third place kid is some kind of stand-in, like should one of the others not be able to perform his or her duties, Mr. Third Place will step in. That was the really nervous, sighing, chest-clutching kid. He was crying at the end, and I haven't looked at my pictures yet, but I'll be he's pretty red-eyed in them.
And the word that got him? "Crocuses." He spelled it with a "k".