Thursday, December 4, 2014

The National Spelling Bee for the Deaf

The annual spelling bee for the deaf was held on Thursday during "Disability Week".  

(What an oxymoron...some of these kids were brilliant!)

This year the children had four weeks to learn 250 words.  Not only did they have to spell the words, but also learn the signs that the people in Belize City used for the words. Over half of the signs distributed on a DVD were different than what we were used to.  It was a mountainous task.
The children in the picture above were ages 8 and 9.  I withheld Morine this year because of the short time to learn the words and because she is only 7.  It was a good decision because a week after we got the words, she got sick and was out of school for four days.  It's ok.  She will return next year and give it a try.  This year I was invited to be a judge. I enjoyed it.

Morine, in pink, loved being at the competition.  On the bus ride home she was signing, "They all signed...all the people!"  I think she had never seen so many deaf people in one place.  She loved it.

This is the older group ages 12-15.  St. Peter's Anglican School had two contestants: Elizanie Reyes and Gineli Novelo (Yeah, both names were spelled  wrong on their papers).

The winners of the Junior group won ASL dictionaries and a basket of cool things.  The winner got a tablet (!).  The second place winner got a new bike.  Thank you to Crystal Beverages for sponsoring the Spelling Bee.

Gineli won third place.  Unlike the other children in the competition, Gineli and Elizanie are mainstreamed full time in a regular classroom.  The other children are in deaf classrooms and spent the last 4 weeks focused on the words, but Gineli and Elizanie had to go to school and do their Standard 5 classwork, reserving only the time after school to practice.  I was so impressed by Ginell's good effort and the time she spent practicing on her own at home!
The event was held in the gymnasium of Belize High School.  Many people came from all over the country to watch and cheer.  You can see lots of Mennonite folk.  They are from the Cayo Deaf Institute (CDI).   In the back left on the bleachers you see some of the older Deaf who themselves participated in the spelling bee many years ago.  (There are about 10 more off the picture to the right).  It s a gathering that always draws Deaf people together.  Thanks Yosselin Rosemery Lara for sharing this picture.

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