ABSH Spelling Bee
Last month, a group of 14 Mayatan students, 6 teachers, and numerous parents headed off in a school bus bound for a weekend in Tegucigalpa. You don't take an 8 hour bus ride with kids lightly: their destination was the famed Discovery School, where Mayatan would participate in its first ever English and Spanish Spelling Bees and Speech Contest against contestants from over dozen members of the Association of Bilingual Schools of Honduras (ABSH).
Although the trip was a serious event, it also included a lot of fun, especially before the Spelling Bee.
Emily Monroe, 4th Grade Teacher, reports that everyone really bonded through the exciting, emotional, sometimes difficult trip. She says that the bus ride there was practically silent because the children were all from different grades and were shy with each other. "But on the way back, they had all bonded as friends, and they opened up. They were talking and even singing together."
The singing was lead by Otto in 6th grade, and it included all the songs the songs the children learned at Chiminike, the children's museum in Tegucigalpa. Another important role was played by Jose Rodolfo in 8th grade, who was kind of the "dad" on the trip, schooling younger kids in facts and world trivia, and preparing them for the contest.
Chiminike, whose mascot is a frog, had an anti-gravity room, interactive exhibits on space and physics, a human body, and more. After visiting on Friday afternoon, everyone stuffed themselves at the mall food court. Some people bought clothing and supplies for Fun Week, which was going to begin on Monday. Then there was a night in a hotel, where teachers report the kids went a little nuts, even though they were broken up into boys and girls rooms and by age.
On the day of the event, everyone piled back into the bus to head to Discovery School, one of the best and most elite schools in the country. The sprawling campus was "amazing," with huge, well-tended buildings and grounds. It was also very well-organized. There was a giant assembly to welcome the delegations from various schools, and there were speeches by the ambassadors from the United States and Spain, who had a child enrolled at a participating school. Following a cue from her boss, Hillary Clinton, the U.S. ambassador talked about how "It takes a village to raise a child."
After the ceremony, the kids went into rooms by grade for the competition. Spectators were not allowed in the rooms, so we don't have photos of that. There were two practice rounds and then real thing before panels of three judges. During this time, Samuel in 10th grade practiced his speech for the afternoon, and parents and kids played games, hung out, and enjoyed snacks. Eventually the Mayatan crowd caught word that 4th grader Maria Jose had placed 2nd in the Spanish Spelling Bee, which would be our top placing that day.
After all the competitions were over, it got emotional. Almost everyone cried, having invested so much effort and nerves into the day. There was an awards ceremony afterwards. Maru, a Mayatan board member and a Discovery School parent, cheered everyone up, explaining that this was Mayatan's first year of competition and that they were all winners in her eyes.
All in all, it was a great experience. Mayatan has a lot to learn, and a lot of room to adjust to the culture of ABSH competitions, but we have no doubt that we will get there and be a better school for it in the long run. All of us are proud of this pioneering group, and we're excited for the years of contests that await.
Kensy 2nd Grade - Span
Abigail 2nd Grade - Eng
Carlos 3rd Grade - Eng
Ana Cecilia 3rd Grade - Span
Gandhi 4th Grade - Eng
Maria Jose 4th Grade - Span (2nd place)
Erica 5th Grade - Span
Dayana 5th Grade - Eng
Otto 6th Grade - Eng
Elsa 6th Grade - Span
Fidelina 7th Grade - Span
Jose Rodolfo 8th Grade - Eng
Kency 8th Grade - Span
Samuel 10th Grade - Speech contest
Mr. Valera Chekmazov
Miss Marin Jackson
Miss Emily Monroe
Mrs. Norma Murcia
Mrs. Paty Sarmiento