Sunday, June 1, 2014

Gadding About to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC

I jokingly told some of my friends that we were going to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC because that had always been on my "bucket list".  They thought that a strange thing to have on one's "bucket list".  Not really.  But Dan's first cousin twice removed, Ryan Spencer, was the speller representing Nova Scotia.  We had seen Ryan and his twin brother grow up during our summer trips to Cape Breton, and we wanted to be there to support him. 

Ryan is from Great Village, Nova Scotia, a small town near Truro, NS.  He won the Nova Scotia Bee by correctly spelling placeboRyan spells the winning word.
Ray spelling his winning word.  (Photo from the Halifax Chronicle Herald.)

In Washington, there were 281 young spellers competing for the national, really international, title.  The contestants were there for a week, and on one of the first days they each had to take computer tests that involved spelling, definitions and word origins.  Results of the computer tests were used to narrow the field for all the spellers who weren't eliminated by misspelling a word.

Dan and Marilyn Campbell, Ryan's maternal grandmother who accompanied him, before the quarter finals. 
 Ryan spelled both of his words correctly--sauerbraten and necrogeneous but was eliminated by results from the computer tests.  Only 46 of the 281 advanced to the semi-finals.  From that group, twelve competed for the title.

For the first time in over 50 years there was a tie with two winners.
The two winners. 

When we went down for breakfast late on Friday morning, I was happy to meet both of the winners who were also having breakfast in the Atrium.
Pat with one of the winners.

Pat with the other winner.

Ryan enjoyed this opportunity very much.  He won a $5,000. scholarship by winning in Nova Scotia, and he had fun visiting Washington.  He had not been in the United States prior to this trip.  He rode a very high ferris wheel down at the National Harbor near the Gaylord Hotel where the competition was held, and the highlight of his trip, apart from the Bee itself,  was going to a Washington Nationals baseball game and visiting the Smithsonian Museum. 

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