The Third Annual Global SpellEvent™ Championship, an international spelling bee for EFL learners ages 9 to 15, was a wonderful event for all those involved. It introduced many foreign families to the United States while giving exceptional young students the chance to win a very big scholarship.
Fifteen kids, all from non-English speaking countries, competed Wednesday afternoon at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square. The winner, Jung Yeo Jin from South Korea, received a $10,000 scholarship.
“I’m a little shocked to be the winner, but I’m happy I won,” said Jin, who will be 13 years old next week. “My mom was badgering me with questions for over a month or two.”
Second place winner Jiři Fof from the Czech Republic won a $2,000 scholarship, third place winner Julia Harumi Namba from Brazil won $800, and all other participants each won $100. Each of the 15 participants representing their home countries earned an all-expense paid trip to New York City for themselves and one family member.
“I really like the city, I liked seeing how beautiful it all is,” said 13-year-old Olga de la Rosa of Mexico. “It’s amazing.”
The goal of the event, sponsored by Franklin Electronic Publishers and TESOL, is to give foreign students the chance to improve their English language capabilities and to help them with their educational needs. The students representing their countries were chosen from thousands of those competing for the honor.
“We continue to be awestruck by the pride, diligence and enthusiasm these children display,” said Barry Lipsky, president and CEO of Franklin.
While the average person may not find spelling bees very exciting, I loved it. I competed in them when I was in grade school and I’ve always been an English spelling and grammar nerd, so watching these kids try out their language skills was a lot of fun.
The students appeared quite nervous as each took their turn at the microphone, but I was glad to see none of them looking very upset as they were one-by-one eliminated. Even for those who lost, I imagine the disappointment couldn’t be too big given the trip they got out of it. As part of the vacation the participants and their families also got a free bus tour of New York City and the chance to socialize with the other students through meals, music and dance.
All in all the competition seemed like a great way to promote the English language, as well as interaction between people of different cultures. I hope Franklin and TESOL continue to give students this opportunity in the future.
– Karina Schroeder
List of all SpellEvent™ competitors and their countries:
- Abril D’Angelo Lebrero – ARGENTINA
- Julia Harumi Namba – BRAZIL
- Oscar Sebastian Rosas Stange – CHILE
- Yiran Wang – CHINA
- Jiři Fof – CZECH REPUBLIC
- Elena Ghika – FRANCE
- Julia Fritsch – GERMANY
- Olga Itzel Garay de la Rosa – MEXICO
- Rakhilya Mekhtieva – RUSSIA
- Cheikh Ahmet Tidiane Dieye – SENEGAL
- Jung Yeo Jin – SOUTH KOREA
- Mario Borrás Fernández – SPAIN
- Ayşegül Barlas – TURKEY
- Ahmed Mohammed Abdulla Ali Al Aryani – THE UAE