‘Gladiolus’ was the word Frank Neuhauser spelt correctly way back in 1925 to emerge as the winner of the first ever spelling bee contest. Well it has been 88 years since, and we have already seen thousands of such competitions worldwide with students showing just how good they are in the art of spelling. So when spelling bee started in Bangladesh, it was no surprise that thousands of students threw themselves at the opportunity to become renowned as the country’s best speller and also get the Tk 5 Lakh scholarship, the gateway to free education.
But life is not a bed of roses. 1 million students may take part in the competition but only 1 ultimately wins. As they say, ‘It’s not always about the destination; it’s the journey that counts.’ The competition itself made us laugh at many points. At times, there are words that sound funny and the contestant, as well as the audience, explodes. There are saucy contestants too who try to extract as many clues as they can, making it funny in the process. There have been many humorous incidents worldwide in spelling bee contests. Once a boy named Andrew Ley was asked to spell ‘Negus’ but he thought he had to spell ‘Niggas.’ His expression was absolutely priceless at that time. Also a girl named Katie, instead of asking for the normal clues such as the definition or language of origin, asked dryly, ‘How do you spell that?’ Another incident involved 13 year old Kenyyi Aouad who was asked to spell the word ‘Sardoodledom’ and he just started laughing hysterically and the audience joined in as well. As he pronounced the word back to the announcer to be sure, he started laughing again. Finally he maintained his composure and went on to spell the word correctly only to collapse into laughter when he got back to his seat.
All in all, Spelling bee is a journey that teaches the participant the joy of learning new words and also improves their proficiency of the English Language. It gives them an unforgettable experience which teaches them never to rush and take time because it is just one letter that makes all the difference.
Class- 9 Commerce, Little Jewels School