Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spelling Bees, A Peculiarly American Tradition

Having started in 1925, The Scripps Bee is still very popular and has reached new heights over the past decade. "It combines performance and scholarship - two things that we Americans really enjoy," Mr. Thampy, the 2000 Champion says. He thinks spelling was pivotal to his success, teaching him "a love of learning and an attention to detail and incredible appreciation of the languages and systems that underpin our society".

However, some people criticize the bee for encouraging unhealthy levels of stress and competitiveness in its young contestants. As a reply of the concerns, Scripps Spelling Bee spokesman Tim King points out that the camaraderie and fast friendships that develop during the finals can be the proof that the kids are not nursing deep wounds.

Past Winning Words:

· 2009: Laodicean, meaning lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics

· 2008: guerdon, meaning something that one has earned or gained

· 2007: serrefine, meaning a small forceps for clamping a blood vessel

· 2006: ursprache, meaning a parent language

· 2005: appoggiatura, meaning an accessory embellishing note or tone preceding an essential melodic note or tone

This Year's Contestants

· 273 spellers made the national finals

· 68% attend public school

· 42 have no siblings

· 20 have at least one relative who previously made finals

· One speller is competing for the fourth time

· The median age is 13

· One competitor is eight

· The most popular book is Harry Potter, film is Avatar and food is pizza

Source: BBC News

Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/us_and_canada/10243428.stm

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