Earlier this year, Ms Yates asked me whether I could take the Hayesfield House School Spelling Bee and transform it into an Inter-School competition where the schools of Bath would hold heats to select their three best spellers in Year 7 and Year 8 who would then compete in a Bath final at Hayesfield School and this set in motion the quest to find the best spellers in Bath.
Six schools across Bath accepted the challenge and students from Beechen Cliff, King Edwards School, Hayesfield Girls’ School, Oldfield School, Ralph Allen and St Gregory’s battled to be crowned Spelling Bee Champion on Friday 29th June in the Roper Theatre.
The audience of friends, parents, teachers as well as The Mayor of Bath ….. and The Mayoress…….watched on apprehensively as the remarkably calm 18 students competed in three rounds of elimination. In the first round students had to spell three words correctly to go through to the second round. A testament to the high standard of contestants, most students achieved full marks and had to go through to a tense tie-breaker, where they had ten seconds to spell words such as belligerence, beleaguer and eloquence. Finally the field was narrowed down to six competitors, including Year 8 student Caitlin Bellworthy from Hayesfield Girls’ School, Lily Greenhough, Alexander Lea and Fiona Thet from Ralph Allen School, Mohamed Hussan from Beechen Cliff and Ella O’Shea from St Gregory’s School.
In the second round, words were trickier and contestants were not allowed to use a whiteboard. Words like ‘gauge’, ‘exercise’ and ‘humorous’ narrowed the field further to two students who got both words right and automatically qualified for the third round. Another tie-breaker between Caitlin Bellworthy, Mohamed Hussan and Lily Greenhough saw Caitlin, from Hayesfield, take third place.
The two finalists, Fiona Thet and Alexander Lea, both from Ralph Allen went on to the third round – a sudden death round, as seen in the popular American Spelling Bees. Alexander stumbled on ‘convalescence’ and Fiona spelled that word and the following word ‘silhouette’ correctly to be crowned Bath Inter-School Spelling Bee Champion.
All competitors received a certificate, presented to them by Ms Yates and The Mayor of Bath and the winners received book tokens, generously donated to us by Mr B’s Book Emporium. The winner also received a Spelling Bee trophy.
It was a fierce competition, judged expertly by Ms Twohigg and Ms Whitehead, who had to tot up scores and check spellings. Thank you to them and also to everyone who helped and supported the competition, especially Ms Bell-West, who introduced the competition and helped me to plan, Mr Lee for his excellent photography skills and the sixth formers who met and greeted the contestants and their supporters. We are already look forwards to the next competition and reclaiming the Spelling Bee trophy and winning title!