According to the Wikipedia, a spelling bee is a competition, where the contestants, usually children, are asked to spell English words. Each time a contestant is unable to spell a word correctly, they are eliminated and this removal process continues until an overall winner and some runner-ups emerge. And while the Wikipedia accounts that the phrase, spelling bee, was first used in 1825, the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary documents its date of original use as 1875. But regardless of the degree of precision of either date, the spelling bee concept, which allegedly originates from the United States, has since its inception spread to other Anglophone countries of the world, where it is often observed as a national competition.
Towards developing better vocabulary power in the students of the Eti-Osa 1 Local Government (LG) in Victoria Island, the Drama Community Development Group of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Lagos State, Nigeria recently embarked on a spelling bee project in the community. The event was held simultaneously in six different classes for an approximate period of forty minutes. Almost all the students in each class participated but a total of 24 winners were given gift items, with 4 students making it through to the end in each classroom. The purpose of the event was to challenge the students to expand their vocabulary and actuate correct English spelling.
The gifts presented were sponsored by Addax Petroleum while the organisation of the contest was spearheaded by corps members Bode Olatunji, Chioma Obiora, Adewa Adeola, Farooq Kolawole, Grace Okey, Ugonma Udenze, Nike Adebayo, Agbo Raymond and Eke Kingsley. Each winner received the gift of a quality school bag for competing boldly and scaling through the preliminary stages of the contest. The corps members were moved by the students’ heavy participation because they were supposed to sit for some continuous assessment tests lately scheduled to hold after the competition. For the students of the Victoria Island Junior Secondary School, November 26, 2011 was a day of work and excitement.
When asked for his comments on the project, the honest school principal, Mr Bolarinwa said, “We have felt your impact here. Now, extend your reach to others around here. Let the community feel your impact. I believe that is one of the objectives of NYSC and that was why the Federal Government sent you here.” The school’s vice principal, Mrs Arah, and Mrs Osadalor, an English teacher, also praised the efforts of the corps members in encouraging a learning habit in the students via the spelling bee. Some of the words the students were asked to spell include: for Junior Secondary School 1 (JSS1); requirement, mechanic, jealousy, interview, passenger, resources, nationality and medicine. For JSS2; apostrophe, embarrass, raspberry, democracy, acquaintance, tournament, souvenir and episode. For JSS3; acquittal, asphalt, bankruptcy, appendix, phantom, synthesis, accumulate, antiseptic and acknowledgement.
The spelling bee competition was the second project successfully executed by the Drama CD Group of Eti-Osa 1 in Victoria Island, following the Talent Hunt programme they had at the Kuramo Senior College last month. It is the primary objective of the Drama CD Group of the Eti-Osa 1 LG to influence and impact the community as a means of reawakening the spirit of brotherly care and achieving the objectives of the NYSC; to reconstruct, rehabilitate and rebuild our nation. To these goals, they remain committed and as they strive to touch more lives with the help of corporate sponsors and their CD Coordinator’s (Alhaja Igara A.O.’s) guidance.