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Memories of a Spelling Bee Champion
Scaffolding. S C A F F O L D I N G. Scaffolding.
I remember it more clearly than I remember yesterday. It was March. I was in 8th grade. We were in the school gym. My friend Karen stood to my right and had spelled her word wrong. I was given scaffolding. I asked for a definition. The light came on and 11 letters later, I became a spelling bee champion. It was a dream FINALLY come true!
Then the call came.
Two days after I won, the vice principal called to inform my parents of the scheduling error. The regional bee had been held 9 days earlier. It was the last year I was eligible to compete. Just like that, my dream was crushed. Twenty-nine years later, I still hold the grudge.
Last week both of my boys competed in the school spelling bee. It was a super proud moment for me as a spelling bee champion, but having two of your kids compete is almost as bad as having both of your teams (Seahawks and Patriots) make it to the Super Bowl (I’m rooting for the Seahawks, by the way, and for the reasoning behind that, visit me at Ariele Sieling’s Blog.
Twenty-four kids competed, four each from grades 3 – 8. My boys are in 4th and 7th grades. It was the fifth round, several kids had gone out but many remained. Crazy Son (4th grader) got the word ‘domestic’. I held my breath through each letter until he added a K at the end. It was heart-breaking, but he’s more of a math and science kid, so the fact he made it to the spelling bee and lasted four rounds was a huge accomplishment. Several kids down the line and it was Charming Son’s turn. Again, I held my breath. I don’t remember the word he got, but when he spelled it correctly I cheered and clapped.
And everyone looked at me.
We had been instructed not to clap except for at the end of the round or when a contestant went out. I broke that rule loudly and proudly. (And then apologized for my obvious inability to control myself, but hey, I’m a spelling bee champion and BOTH my boys were competing).
A couple rounds later, Charming Son was given the word ‘novelist’. What are the chances? Thank goodness he spelled it correctly and I didn’t have to disown him. And the teacher reading the words looked for me in the crowd, because like I said, what are the chances?
Charming Son took 4th place. He went out on the word ‘celestial’. Again, so incredibly proud and that’s a tough word that we don’t throw around very often in our house, so he didn’t have any experience with it in conversation. I was actually quite proud of his misspelling because he tried to spell it as one would spell ‘solar’ and to me, that makes complete sense.
Though next year will be Charming Son’s last year to compete, Diva Daughter is only in 3rd grade now, so I have many years of potential spelling bee competitions to look forward to.
Do you have a proud achievement as a child that you remember vividly? Or one that your kids have been able to experience as well?
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