Thursday, 27 Feb 2020

Saskatchewan First Nations Spelling Bee sending winners to nationals

There was a gathering of the brightest and best spellers Saturday for the 4th annual Saskatchewan First Nations Spelling Bee in Saskatoon.

It was an impressive display of skill and vocabulary by 114 hopefuls aged 6 to 12 competed in three categories.

Lori Mcauley with the Saskatchewan First Nations Spelling Bee said they’re extremely pleased with the ability of all the competitors.

“They have very challenging words,” she said. “Junior, intermediate and primary all have difficult words.”

The preparation for the competition begins long before the spellers take to the stage. Mcauley said they send out a list of 399 words to practice in the fall.

“They get a list of words and parents sit down with their children to practice,” she said. “A lot of them set up bee studies in the school. They practice over the noon hour and after school so it’s very intensive.”

Brittany Olson is the mother to two competitors in this year’s spelling bee. She said the competitors’ spelling abilities are really impressive.

“They are very challenging, I probably know 25 per cent of the intermediate words,” she said. “They’re pretty challenging.”

Competitors took turns spelling words chosen by the judges and if they were spelled incorrectly, they were eliminated from the round.

Mcauley explained competing in the spelling bee gives the young students a chance to develop literacy skills, patience and language development.

“We are so proud,” she said. “The ability of these kids and the level of words they are spelling is phenomenal.”

The top speller from each age category will advance to compete at the national spelling bee in Toronto this May.

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