The Paul Revere School staff might be well versed on education, but administrators took a cue from the past last week to spell out success for their students.
Under the guidance of Principal Barbara Kelly, the school registered and paid to be part of the Scripps Howard Spelling Bee competition this fall. Last Friday, after a series of classroom competitions – all of which met strict Scripps Howard guidelines, 14 Paul Revere students from Grade 1 to Grade 5 took center stage to compete for the title of Revere’s Champion Speller.
The annual Scripps Howard competition is the largest and most prestigious Spelling Bee in the country and the championships in Washington, D.C. are televised on national television every spring. The Bee has become quite popular amongst students, parents and interested observers.
At the Paul Revere School, Kelly and Reading Specialist Jodi Collins said the Bee has sparked a spelling fire amongst students.
“It has really sparked the school and has put our students in a frenzy about spelling,” said Kelly. “During lunches and recesses they are out there quizzing each other and practicing spelling. That’s been the great part of all this.”
Collins said this first annual Bee at the Paul Revere has been a way for all students to see what it’s like. She said she expects even more competition next year.
“This has really intrigued their minds to learn about words and parts of speech,” she said. “The rest of the school seeing the kids up there competing and getting trophies, they’ll all want to be up there next year.”
All 14 contestants took their places Friday morning, with a panel of three judges and School Committeewoman Carol Tye acting as moderator/reader.
More than 300 students and parents sat in silence as the Bee progressed.
The older students were heavy favorites, but several of the younger kids – including Teo Hood (1st Grade) and Allaa Bouzaghou (2nd Grade) – gave impressive showings.
After 10 intense rounds, three finalists had emerged – and according to the rules – they would face off in elimination round.
The finalists included 3rd Grader Ayah Harper, 4th Grader Ava Hawkes, and 5th Grader Elena Nguyen.
In the sixth round, Harper – who had impressed everyone with her poise as a third grader – got stuck on the word ‘curtain.’
That left Hawkes and Nguyen.
In the eighth round, Hawkes tripped up on ‘blatant,’ and Nguyen correctly spelled the words ‘acrobat’ and ‘antelope’ to become the First Annual Revere Spelling Bee Champion.
Her mother, Trang Nguyen, said that her daughter is a natural at spelling.
“She only practiced the last few days,” she said. “She’s pretty good at academics.”
Nguyen will move on to compete at the regional Scripps Howard Bee in Lynn this coming March. If she wins that Bee, she has a chance to advance to Washington, D.C., for the finals, said Kelly.
Kelly said she wanted to thank the Paul Revere PTO for providing the funds to pay for entrance into the competition.