Our co-op (Blount Home Education Association or BHEA) had the annual Spelling Bee today. It was a wonderful learning experience for all. I took it upon myself to coordinate the BHEA Spelling Bee about three years ago because I love spelling bees.
Everything went smoothly and I was not as nervous as in prior years. Our three judges were Angela Montoya (main judge, who has done it for a decade now), Preston Zoder (pronouncer, 9th grade, runner up last year, my son), and Lydia Griffin (buzzer manager, daughter of the first homeschooler of Sevier County, who is now homeschooling her own children).
Ten brave children showed up well prepared. After thirty minutes, seven were still standing. The main judge decided to move onto a more difficult list of words and several left the stage pretty fast.
The winning word was “irresponsible.” After the awards ceremony we took pictures of everybody with their awards. Then, we headed to the dining hall for cupcakes. We always get these cupcakes which are decorated with letters.
We have goodie bags, medals, and diplomas for everyone who has the courage to stand up in the Spelling Bee. These are not participation prizes. We know these children prepare and work hard before they show up on Bee day. These are prizes to acknowledge their hard work and dedication to the English language – the correct usage of this wonderful language.
The top three receive trophies and cash prizes, in addition to everything that everybody gets. Since our businesses (Zoder’s Inn and Smoky Mountain Soaps) sponsor the Spelling Bee, it is nice when one of our children manages to get into the Top 3.
Last year, our son finished runner up. This year, our daughter landed on the same spot. We were so proud of her. Even though she has read a lot of books in her 12 years of life, spelling does not come naturally to her. However, she bloomed today – she peaked at the right time, on the Spelling Bee stage. She hung in there with the best of them, focused, and managed to outlast most of the students.
This is such a life lesson. If you show up, do your work, even when you do not like it or see the point of it, you get rewarded. When the gracious hand of God is upon you, you will go places.
Before we left the house, I asked her to pray. She said, “God, protect us on the road and help the Spelling Bee to go well. Help me finish in the place where You want me to be and help everybody else according to what they deserve.” Did you catch that nuance?
Our daughter surrendered her plans to God’s will and lifted up others who have worked hard. She knows a lot of those kids because she sees them every year doing well at the Bee. As she is currently in seventh grade, she has one more chance next year to shine and maybe win another trophy – no matter which place.