With Sydney’s win at the 2nd grade level spelling bee, she was invited to the district spelling bee. This was several weeks later so we took a bit of a training break then got back into the words. I quickly moved to working the average and difficult words. These are the best kids so let’s be ready. Sydney was getting a bit burnt out and was looking forward to not having to do drills again. Finally, on the night before, we put the word list down and I said, “That’s it. You are ready to go. No more drills.”. To which she replied, “Unless I win tomorrow. Then we go to Arizona to compete.” You go, girl.
Kim took Sydney to a school north of Denver for the competition. No cameras. No video. One school hosts and they have all grades going simultaneously broken into different classrooms. There were about 4-5 staff members running the show in each room. I think this caused the school to have to get volunteers who were untrained in the ways of the spelling bee. They often had to refer to the rules and seemed to stray from them a few times. I wasn’t too happy with what I heard about the execution.
There were about 30 kids in Sydney’s competition. They were in a hot stuffy classroom and it took about an hour to get through 30 kids for the first round. Sydney was really getting bored as were most of the kids. They just had to sit there quietly and wait.
During round 3, Sydney was given the word “which”. And without hesitation, she says:
Which, W-I-C-H, Which.
She sat down and though she got it. When they told her it was wrong, she looked confused. This is on the easy list and I didn’t spend much time on it in training. Might not have even ever done it. Felt like a coaching failure. I figured if someone messed it up they would spell witch…like with a broom! Oops. Kim told me this was on a spelling test in school recently and she got it wrong there. Just one of those words that she didn’t have nailed and came back to haunt here. So she was out and had to sit through 9 more rounds before the champ was crowned and they were dismissed.
She came back home and I could tell she didn’t win but what are the odds of that anyway. You could be a genius but its a bit of a crap shoot given what word you get and how calm you are. Some kids got some tough words that most of us adults don’t even know the meaning of! What a “teetotum”? Or a “wren”?
It was a good experience and we were proud of her for competing. Maybe we will be back next year!