April 23rd, 2024

Adults put their spelling to the test


By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on February 28, 2024.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Nadia Hussain shakes hands with fellow competitor Shanila Chaliyil Kunchimon after Hussain won the Buzzwords spelling bee on Saturday at the Lethbridge Public Library.

Six adult contestants put their spelling skills to the test in front of judges during the inaugural Buzzwords spelling bee on Saturday afternoon.

“We have our kids spelling bee every year, so we thought why not give the adults a chance to show their stuff,” said Jonathan Jarvie, an adult services librarian at the Lethbridge Public Library.

The words began at a Grade 4 level and worked up to Grade 12.

“Already we’ve hit I think it’s Grade 10 and it is already getting tough for some of our spellers and even I think our audience members when somebody wanted to ask the audience,” said Jarvie.

“It’s pretty hard for everybody. So hats off to all the kids in school still in Grade 10 that use these words all the time.”

Jarvie said it’s a good opportunity for people to get out and get in front of an audience.

“They have great capability,” said Jarvie.

“There’s been a couple words where I thought (it) was going to be wrong and they were correct and that’s somebody who has seen the entire list.”

Nadia Hussain spoke about her experience at the spelling bee just before the final against Shanila Chaliyil Kunchimon.

“Some of them are very mindboggling and it’s definitely tricky ,” said Hussain.

“But I think if you’ve been reading a great deal and you kind of just have a love for words and vocabulary, then it’s kind of fun. But yeah it’s definitely you have to brush up on a little bit of reading and look through the dictionary and try to know the etymology of words.”

Hussain said it is definitely much more difficult when you have so many pairs of eyes looking at you.

“So that does make it a bit more nerve-wracking,” she said.

“I would suggest, and good advice for myself as well, is take a deep breath and try to tune out all the noise and just focus on the word and hopefully it will stick,” she said.

Hussain won the bee after spelling “abbreviation” and the anticipated word “consequently” correctly.

The event acted as a fundraiser for the library.

“Each person who participated in the fundraiser donated $10 and there were chances to buy opportunities to save yourself for extra money that all goes towards our programming budget,” said Jarvie.

“So people could have 30 seconds with the dictionary, skip a word or ask the audience, and then we also had an additional opportunity for the audience to participate. They can pay a fee to save one of our spellers.”

About $200 was raised.

This bee was initially planned for April, 2020 but had been cancelled because of COVID restrictions.

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