We finally had the BHEA Spelling Bee. BHEA stands for Blount Home Education Association. This was my second year coordinating the bee. The judges pick the words from the list we received from the National Spelling Bee Organization.
I have two children competing in the bee, but I do not know the words they will get from the judges. We prepare the entire list, 450 words. My job as a coordinator is to communicate with all the parents, give them the word list and the book list, and make sure we have a building, sponsors, goodie bags, prizes, judges, and that the Board stays informed.
The BHEA Board suggested we postpone it for a month, from January to February, so that the pandemic numbers could go down a bit more. We had quite a few people sick – judges, participants, parents. January just was not going to work out.
By the middle of February, everybody was healthy again. The COVID-19 numbers in our area have gone down so much, that the Board even decided to switch masks from being “required” to “recommended” for indoor activities.
We were very glad to hear that. Spelling bees are hard enough without a mask. Having to put on and take off a mask every time you stand up to spell your word is a chore.
Eleven brave children showed up, out of over 200 in this support group. They all deserve a medal for having the courage to face the bell of doom, as my son calls it.
Showing Up Means Much
Our sponsors, Zoder’s Inn and Smoky Mountain Soaps, made sure everybody received a medal. Not only that. Every participant received a diploma on paper that does not tear, a medal, a goodie bag, and a cupcake at the end. The top three received trophies and cash prizes on top of that.
The three judges also received goodie bags for the first time this year. It’s nice to have business people around us who understand the importance of supporting education and literacy.
We were glad to see our son focus and finally get a trophy. He placed second. His spelling skills are strong, but he used to mess up on easy words simply for lack of concentration or because of nerves. See? This is one of the reasons your children should be involved in competitions. They learn to deal with nerves.
This was his last year in a spelling bee anyway, so he goes out with a bang. They invited him back next year as a judge and he said he would like to do it.
Our daughter did well, too. She went out on a word from the second column on the second page, which is very well. There are three pages on the list and most adults have a hard time with the second page.
The future belongs to children who can spell. Do not neglect this literacy skill. Computer spellcheckers can only help you so much.