Park Record Spelling Bee primed
May 13, 2008
For the second year The Park Record will sponsor spelling hopefuls as they compete in the Park City Bee May 16 starting at 3 p.m in the Egyptian Theater.
The event, founded and organized by Tania Knauer, brings together students from both public and private Park City schools. At first, said Knauer, she only hoped to create a bee for McPolin Elementary School, but so many people expressed interest that she decided to open the competition to all of Park City. Knauer also enlisted the help of The Park Record, because, she said, successful spelling bees often involve local newspapers.
The tournament on May 16 will be the last step in a competitive process that began earlier at schools. Each area school held preliminary rounds to determine which three students should continue on to the championship round at the Egyptian. Most schools started with classroom competitions and allowed the students to progress to a school-wide round. Second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth-graders will all be represented at the championship.
To prepare for the bee, students in each grade were given a list of words likely to be used. The shortest list of about 200 words went to second and third-graders while sixth-graders probably received about twice that number. Judge and former English instructor, Julie Glusker, said that the key to success is "really about practice, focus and having the self confidence and desire to work hard. A lot of people don’t understand how much work is actually involved in learning these words." The overall amount of work and time these students devoted to the spelling bee, she added, is "no different than somebody who’s committed to a sports team."
Students will spell on the stage at the Egyptian by consecutive grade levels beginning with the second and third-graders at 3 p.m. and followed by fourth and fifth-graders at 4 p.m. and lastly sixth and seventh-graders at 5 p.m. The event should end around 6 p.m.
Within each competitive group, the bee is formatted as a single-elimination tournament. Participants will have one chance to spell the word assigned by the contest judges. If he or she misses that word, or fails to say the word after spelling it, elimination results. "You’ll sit on the edge of your seat," as you watch the tournament, said Glusker.
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The format changes for the final two contestants. If one student misspells a word, than the other remaining competitor must correctly spell that word to win and end the round, otherwise the spelling continues. If all words on the pre-constructed list are exhausted, a tie may be called for as many as three contestants. Awards will be handed out at the end of each grade level’s round.
Winners from the tournament will receive bee-shaped bobble head trophies and a crossword book while all contestants will be awarded certificates of participation and ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. All of the students will also receive four tickets to see the film "Akeelah and the Bee" which will play as a part of the Park City Film Series at the library on May 19.
Knauer hopes that the tournament will continue to grow after this year. It is her intention to involve the North and South Summit School Districtsnext year, provided continued success at this year’s tournament.