This is the first of two parts.
The annual S.M.A.R.T.S. Spelling Bee for qualifying third, fourth and fifth graders will be held on Saturday March 30, 2019 at the Stevenson HS campus. The winner in each grade will receive a $1,000 prize ($500 in cash or check and $500 in a New York State College Scholarship). The event is sponsored by Assemblymember Karines Reyes and Senator Luis Sepulveda.
thisistheBronX visited with the spelling champs from two of the participating schools and will report on PS 94’s students today and PS 6’s students on Friday.
by Gary Axelbank
March 28, 2019
As soon as you enter the library at PS 94 on Kings College Place in Norwood you can see that the school‘s three Spelling Bee champs are serious about reading and spelling. Fourth graders Samuel Yeboah, Mohammad Ali, and Fatima Ali were sitting quietly at the table, intent on what they were reading.
School librarian Joanne Clarke-Condon who mentors the champion spellers was clear about the value of this activity for not only the three who recently won the school-wide Bee and will be competing on Saturday, but for all PS 94 students.
“Spelling Bees help students learn to identify sounds with letters, improve their memory and vocabulary, and helps them to better identify words while reading and writing,” she said.
Meet the students who will participate in Saturday’sS.M.A.R.T.S. Spelling Bee
Samuel Yeboah, ten years old, won first place in the school’s Spelling Bee. He said that he started enjoying spelling words way back when he was in Kindergarten. In addition to spelling he likes to play soccer. He would not admit to being nervous before Saturday’s big event.
Mohammad Ali, ten years old, won second place in the school’s spelling bee. When we interrupted him to chat he was reading a book of scary stories called Haunts and he told us, “I believe in ghosts but i’m not scared of scary stories.” Mohammed likes to read and says that while he reads, he looks at words and spells them. He’s been an enthusiastic speller since second grade and is looking forward to the competition Saturday because “it’s fun.” Other than the school-wide Bees, this will be his first time in a larger spelling forum.
Fatima Ali, nine years old, was the third-place winner in the school-wide Bee. She says that reading is a favorite hobby and “books can help you learn lessons that you can use later in your life.” She made a point of explaining that when she reads she “annotates the text.” As for the competition, she has thought about winning the $1,000 prize, not to keep the money for herself, but to be able to contribute to her family’s daily giving for homeless people in her parents’ home country of Pakistan.
“The Spelling Bee is an excellent activity because, with the incentive of the prize, it becomes exciting for the kids to study harder to win,” said Senator Luis Sepulveda. “I am proud of every student who is participating because it shows dedication and hard work. Of course, whether they win or not, every student who participates should be proud of themselves for coming so far. ”