Kim Hance

Kim Hance

Cataline student heads to spelling bee finals in Kamloops

Students from grades 3 to 7 spelled their way through eight rounds of competition during Cataline Elementary School’s spelling bee.

A total of 19 students from grades 3 to 7 spelled their way through eight rounds of competition during Cataline Elementary School’s fifth annual spelling bee Jan. 26.

Grade 7 student Kim Hance emerged the winner by spelling “laconic” correctly.

The runner up was Grade 6 student Brayden Ignatius who was knocked out in the final round with the word “choreography.”

Kim will now go on to the The Kamloops Daily News Canwest Regional Spelling Bee in Kamloops on March 3, along with 30 other regional finalists, says Rae Perry, learning support teacher at Cataline.

The winner of the Kamloops competition will be eligible to participate in the National Spelling Bee Finals in Toronto in late March.

Perry says Cataline is the only school in School District 27 that is participating in the Postmedia Canspell National Spelling Bee program this year so there will be no district spelling bee, although district spelling bees have been held in the past.

The Postmedia Canspell National Spelling Bee contest is geared toward students in Canada and is intended to foster the study of the English language

Perry says students who wish to participate in the spelling bee are given a booklet of words to study which is provided by the Postmedia Canspell National Spelling Bee program.

Students at Cataline are invited to attend weekly spelling club meetings to play spelling games and practice for the spelling bee, although participation is not mandatory.  The spelling bee is an extra-curricular activity so all practicing is done outside of class.

Students at the regional and national spelling bees range from Grade 4 to Grade 8. “We usually have students from Grade 4 to Grade 7 in the school spelling bee but  Isaac Lauren and Leif Brandson, who are both in Grade 3, were very keen to try it this year and were recommended by their teachers so we decided to let them have a shot,” Perry says.

Spelling is tough enough when writing words down, but spelling bee challengers have to figure out the spelling of words they are given in their heads then spell them orally for the adjudicators.

To help students stay calm and keep clear heads in the heat of competition the students are encouraged to pronounce the word before and after spelling it, although students are not eliminated for not doing this.

Spellers can also ask the adjudicators to repeat a word, whether there are any other pronunciations, the definition of the word, to use the word in a sentence, what part of speech the word might be, and the word’s language of origin.

If the word is a homonym the adjudication pronouncer will indicate such by providing a definition of the word.

The speller can start from the beginning of the word more than once, but not change the letters or sequence of letters from what was originally said.

Spellers have two minutes to complete spelling of their word.

If a speller misspells a word, they are eliminated from the competition. If all spellers in a round misspell their words, they all remain in the competition and a new round begins. If only one speller in a round spells correctly that speller is declared the winner.

Perry was among three adjudicators at the Cataline spelling bee. Grade 6/7 teachers Mrs. Sandberg and Mr. Dickens also served on the panel.