As the regional spelling bee comes to an exciting finale, the Spelling Bee of Canada (SBOC) is gearing up for its national championships held May 7, 2017 at the Toronto Plaza Hotel, 1677 Wilson Ave, Toronto. For 30 years, the Spelling Bee of Canada has been teaching kids to be confident as what started as one woman’s dream to strengthen the bonds between parents, students and educators has become a national symbol for academic development.
Growing up in Jamaica, Julie Spence loved to see her family, friends and neighbours gather around the radio to cheer on spelling bee contestants. More than thirty years later she is now the director of the SBOC. Julie started the organization in 1987, and the Bee now runs in most regions in Ontario and has recently expanded to Saskatoon, Edmonton and British Columbia.
The Spelling Bee is a competition open to all contestants ages 6-8 (Primary), 9-11(Junior) and 12-14 (Intermediate). Participation in the spelling bee has many benefits. For Kathy McDonald, a devoted parent and the school board trustee in Peel Region for Wards 3 & 4, “The main advantages for my children were an expanded vocabulary and impeccable writing skills.”
Former winner of the SBOC, twenty-seven year old Jeffrey Baer, now an actuary for a large insurance company in London, Ontario says, “spelling is such a great skill to have, even in the days of word processing software, it helps develop your vocabulary and knowledge of the english language.”
The SBOC places an emphasis on parental involvement and community leadership. Many parents volunteer to help with the promotion of the spelling bee and with registration. Some parents however, have been reluctant to get their children involved out of fear that the child is too young for the competition. To that Julie says, “The world is full of competition, in the workforce especially, and learning how to be graceful under pressure is a valuable asset.” Other parents come looking for a winning formula and unfortunately one does not exist. According to Julie, it’s a process of baby steps. “You just have to know your child’s abilities and grow from there. The best strategy is to take it slow, make the experience a fun one.”
Progress is a prominent theme at the SBOC. Last year, the organization partnered with Eppelle-moi Canada and introduced the French spelling bee and now has plans to host an international invitational bee where children from countries around the world can participate.
About the Spelling Bee of Canada
Spelling Bee of Canada established in 1987, is an educational organization that encourages youth, parents, teachers and the community at large to participate in the education process. With the support of schools, student literacy rep
resentatives, sponsors, parents, chapter presidents and volunteers, Spelling Bee of Canada aims to encourage young people to expand their vocabulary, communication skills and self-confidence, by providing a foundation for future scholastic achievements. For more information, please visit:www.spellingbeeofcanada.ca
About Epelle Moi Canada
Épelle-Moi Canada is a French educational program with an aim to enhance the french language among Canadian youth through literacy in French. With the support of the parents, chapter presidents and volunteers, communities, Épelle-Moi Canada encourages young people to expand their knowledge regarding the french orthography, vocabulary, communication. By providing a solid foundation for future scholastic achievements through our theme EDUCATION + PERSEVERANCE = SUCCESS, the program hopes to boost self-confidence and esteem.