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'The Bee is back': Scripps Regional Spelling Bee underway in Kitchener


The 2024 ECU – A Division of WFCU Credit Union Scripps Regional Spelling Bee is back this year.

On Sunday, students and educators gathered at the Kitchener Public Library for this year’s Regional Spelling Bee.

"There's children from all over the Kitchener-Waterloo Region and we have 16 participants and the winner of today will represent the region in Washington at the Scripps National Spelling Bee," said  Beth Ann Prince with WFCU Credit Union.

The Bee aims to promote literacy and language arts in an engaging way and provides local students from grades one to eight the opportunity to compete for a chance to represent the Waterloo Region.

"The schools across Kitchener-Waterloo Region had their school spelling bees," Prince said. "So it starts in the classrooms, then the classrooms have a champion and then all the classrooms go to the gym. They have a school spelling bee and then the winner of the school spelling bee comes here for the regional bee, so each school is represented by one student here."

The youngest competitor is in grade four and the remainder of the competitors are in grade seven and eight.

Prince says Scripps provides a word list which is developed every year by the Scripps National Spelling Bee Committee. Retired long-time CTV Windsor Anchor Jim Crichton is participating as the pronouncer in this year's event.

"The speller will ask for the origin of the word, the definition and they can use it in a sentence and then they attempt to spell it and then it's up to the judges to say correct and if they don't correctly spell it, the terrible sound of the bell goes off and the speller is disqualified."

The winner of the ECU Scripps Regional Spelling Bee will represent the region at the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. and will be awarded various prizes.

This year's winning speller was grade four student Arshan Shahriar from Selwyn Elementary School in Toronto. The Waterloo Region Scripps Regional Spelling Bee was the closest regional bee for him to participate in. He is the youngest student to make it into the regional final and the youngest winner WFCU Credit Union has seen. The winning word was "hijab". He will represent the region in Washington for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

In 2023, 13-year-old Eleanor from MacGregor Senior Public School in Kitchener won the inaugural Scripps Regional Spelling Bee after spelling the word "innovator" correctly. At the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee, Eleanor correctly spelled "halala" and tied for 141st place.

"The Bee helps students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives," read a statement from their website. "In addition to the academic benefits, students also develop important life skills – such as goal setting, time management, and public speaking – that will help them as they advance in school and eventually to successful careers."

For more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, you can visit Top Stories

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