Lee Summer Spelling Bee
Can you spell w-i-n-n-e-r?
Lee students learning their letters
By Scott Den Herder
Democrat staff writer

Feet tapped nervously against table legs and hands pressed tightly against faces as more than 50 anxious sixth, seventh and eight grade students participated in the lee Summer School-wide Spelling Bee Wednesday.

The contest was intended to make students better spellers?but also to instill a positive attitude during competition, said Felicia Samson, teacher and summer school principal at Lee Junior High.

Students spent two weeks learning 50 words for the competition, which began on Tuesday with spelling contests in each classroom.  The top three students in each class advanced to the school-wide competition the following day.  The top three spellers in the school-wide competition were given medals for their achievement:  Sina Ali won the first place award, Abraham Solorio placed second and Brittney Tierney came in third.

For 12-year-old Celina Sanchez, a participant in the school-wide spelling bee, competing in front of classmates and a small audience of about 10 people was ?scary,? though she admitted that memorizing words for  the contest had been an educational experience.

Fellow participant 11-year-old Kimberly Vigil agreed.

?I learned by studying for the competition,? she said.

Words chosen for the contest were among those misspelled most by students, said Samson.

The competition, held inside the school?s library, lasted more than one hour, challenging students to first say a word ? then spell it.

Students had the option of either writing or spelling each word verbally, and were eliminated after making a mistake.

A chorus of supportive claps from students followed correct and incorrect answers alike, encouraged by Samson as a positive show of sportsmanship.

The competition lasted longer than expected, due to several students who continued to answer every spelling word given to them correctly.

?I was impressed with how well the did,? she said.

Samson said she had originally planned to make the competition more difficult by creating a list of 100 words, but concerns about the length of time students had to prepare resulted in a shorter list.

Another spelling bee will likely be offered to students during the regular school year as well, according to Samson, who plans to continue the contest.

Having participated in several spelling competitions as a child, Samson said she learned the value of spelling bees as a learning incentive, and proposed the idea of the summer contest to improve students? abilities.

During the competition, Samson read words aloud and then used them in sentences.?

?Unfortunate,? said Samson.  ?It?s unfortunate that the whole school couldn?t be watching you now.?

--Scott Den Herder can be reached at 406-6232 or [email protected]
Sixth grader Sina Ali, spells a word before winning first place in the Lee Summer School-wide Spelling Bee Wednesday
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