Some of you may be familiar with the film ‘Akeelah and the Bee’, which tells the story of Akeelah Anderson, an 11 year old child who participates in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and though from a modest state school, is up against some of the most high achieving institutions across the USA. Through her community and those closest to her that believe she can succeed, Akeelah makes it through to the finals and achieves for her whole school.
What we witness in this film can play out in reality, just as BBA has experienced recently with the national Spelling Bee Competition.
What better way of learning a language than having fun while you are doing it? This is what we believe participating in Spelling Bee is all about – and it gives the opportunity to improve vocabulary, spelling and memory skills in a foreign language for all Year 7 students learning French, Spanish or German. At Bluecoat Beechdale we have reason to be extremely proud of all our students that have participated and of our year 7 student, David Lo Storto, who made it through to the Spelling Bee Finals recently held at Cambridge University! This was quite an achievement: from around 21,000 initial participants, only 100 made it through to this stage in the competition.
Having made it to this point is also thanks to the Modern Foreign Languages team at BBA as it prepares students providing them with words that they have learned in their Spanish lessons and will be expected to spell them correctly. Form times and some lesson time allows practice; this builds up to a mini Spanish Bee that takes place in school and school finals. All of this hard work helps with the pronunciation of Spanish words and written accuracy, building greater confidence towards GCSE exams. On a competitive level, selected students only have participated in local, regional and ultimately national competitions.
David Lo Storto described his excitement saying he ‘was really nervous but felt rewarded’ from being invited to take part. The whole event was very intense and took part in just a few hours in front of admiring parents and teachers in the audience. There were over 300 spellings to learn in the weeks ahead of the big date and David has shared how his family were very involved in coaching him. This is particularly true of his brother, who based on an algorithm created for the occasion, had exercised David’s memory to enable him to perform at his best.
David made it to the top ten and is so happy to have made it this far. Well done for all his hard work and determination to succeed at such a prestigious event!