After a fantastic performance at the North East regional finals held at Emmanuel College, we are delighted to be sending two of our Year 7s to the national finals of the Routes into Languages Foreign Language Spelling Bee to be held at Cambridge University in June.
For the spelling bee, not only do students have to learn a list of high-frequency words in French and be able to pronounce them well, they also have to be able to spell them, including the letters, spaces and accents, all in French! A great challenge in itself, we’re sure you’ll agree. By this third stage of the competition (after successfully progressing from class and school-level heats), our competitors were remembering and spelling from a list of two hundred and fifty words!
It was a small but competitive regional final, with our three victors from the year-group wide competition – Trixie CS, Evie L and Isabella T – among seventeen finalists whittled down from 903 who started the competition in schools across the North East.
These three finalists had been working very hard in their own time since late in the Spring term, giving up lunchtimes to practise, giving each other constant support, encouragement and feedback and, I’m told, being constantly on their phones testing each other from home!
First, we participated in a semi-final round to select the four national finalists, with particularly stiff competition from Whitley Bay’s Wellfield Middle School. The scores at this point were so close that Evie and Trixie had to fight it out in a tie-breaker for the last spot in the final, and Trixie missed out by just one point! She was gracious and supportive in such a close defeat, and we’re very proud of her efforts to get so far.
Izzy and Evie then went on to spell again in front of all the finalists from all languages to fight for first, second, third and fourth place. Both put in stellar performances despite the bigger audience, with Izzy coming in second place overall and Evie coming back from her underdog position to be crowned regional champion! Their reward? Fifty more words to learn before their trip to Cambridge! (Don’t worry, they did get a well-deserved certificate and a medal each, as well!)