Three years ago, Community Center Shanghai (CCS) held the first ever nationwide English spelling bee in China. Today, CCS and E.W. Scripps Company (who created the bee in 1925) have collaborated to transform the Spelling Bee into an institution within the international school community in China.
Previous bees brought competitors from approximately 40 schools to Shanghai. Of the hundreds of contestants, 15 were chosen to participate in the championship. This year, 33 students came to the national event.
This year’s Bee was held March 19 at the Shanghai Centre Theatre in the heart of downtown Shanghai. Sponsors included title sponsor PureSmile, travel sponsor Austen Morris Associates and education sponsor Qooco.
After hours of grueling competition, full of heart stopping near misses and heart breaking misspellings, three students stood victorious. The grand Champion, Katherine Niu of SCIS – Hangzhou International School, won bragging rights and a free trip to Washington D.C. with her family for the Spelling World Championship. Danise Au of Concordia International School Shanghai placed second and Michelle Yang of QSI Suzhou placed third.
The excitement surrounding this year’s spelling bee already has sponsors and future competitors preparing for next March. Valerie Nathanson, a Spelling Bee Coordinator at QSI Suzhou and the school’s Director, said of the competition after student Michelle Yang placed 3rd, “Our school is on fire because of spelling! We are too small to have soccer, volleyball, or basketball teams yet. This is one arena that our whole QSI community has dived into. Since November students from ages 6 to 13 have been coming to school on Saturdays to learn English vocabulary, etymologies and spelling techniques, using the China Regional Spelling Bee as the motivation. One of our 7-year-old boys came in fourth place in our school championship, and after seeing Michelle’s trophy this morning, he said, When can we start studying for next year?
CCS is a nonprofit organization founded in 1998 to address the needs of the expatriate community in Shanghai. Since then, it has opened three offices throughout the city and works with over 10,000 families within the Shanghai international community providing classes for adults and children, special events and orientation programs, and counseling and care groups.
AND YOUR WORD IS BEE
Definition: a community social gathering at which friends and neighbors join together in a single activity.
The Competition:The Scripps National Spelling Bee, the US competition that has gripped audiences since 1925, has come to the Middle Kingdom.
The Community Center Shanghai has called upon China’s boldest and brightest to conquer the ABC’s of the English language (according to Webster’s Dictionary). The Regional Champion, to be decided at the March 19 China Regional Spelling Bee Competition, will take on roughly 280 spellers at the Scripps National Competition held in Washington, D.C. in June. You may get the chance to see them on TV, satellite cable access permitting, on ESPN or ABC, which airs the preliminary, semifinal, and championship rounds of final competition in June.
For the third consecutive year, China’s regional competition is organized by the Community Center Shanghai and hosted at the Shanghai Centre, with sponsors including title sponsor Pure Smile, as well as Qooco, providing public school enrollment support and the iSpell training program, Austen Morris Associates, Shanghai Centre and Renai International Medical Center. Thousands of students from 11 schools across Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou are participating in early rounds of testing to produce 33 finalists for the March 19 event.
The Event: The China Regional Spelling Bee will be held March 19 at the Shanghai Centre starting at 12 noon. Food and drink to be provided along with a lucky draw sponsored by Austen Morris Associates and entertainment from local international schools. Tickets are 20 RMB each and are available at the Shanghai Centre ticket office at 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, and through the Community Center Shanghai website, www.communitycenter.cn. For questions regarding China’s Regional Spelling Bee and the final event, please contact Anna Bush at Community Center Shanghai at email@example.com.
The Organizer: The Community Center Shanghai is a non-profit organization dedicated in its 11th year to responding to the ever-changing needs of the international community.