For most people, good spelling is a mark of a good education. As students progress in school, they will be increasingly expected to write different types of academic papers (book reports, essays, research papers, etc.), and instructors will no doubt grade harshly on poor spelling. The ability to spell well is also necessary in most occupations, especially for those professions required in a knowledge-based economy. But for non-native English speaking students, becoming proficient in spelling is no easy feat. The annual IAT Spelling Bee, however, is a fun way for our students to hone this skill, learn the underlying structure of the English language, and expand their vocabularies.
This year, the ATHS/STS Fujairah Boys Campus kicked off the 2016 IAT Spelling Bee on May 1st, which included three separate competitions -- Class Finals, Campus Finals, and the Inter-Campus Finals. All students in Grade 8 ATHS, 9 ATHS, 10 ATHS, and 10 STS competed in three rounds of spelling for the Class Finals competition. The top three spellers from each class received a certificate of achievement, with the 1st place winners also receiving a 20 AED gift card to Stone Cold Creamery (an ice cream shop). On May 8th, the top three spellers from each class (for example, 8-01, 8-02, and 8-03) competed against each other in the Campus Finals competition, which was held in the school library. Together, Mr. Basheer Kareem (the new school librarian), and Ms. Sabrina Waterfield (an English teacher for Grades 9 ATHS and 10 ATHS), administered the heart-pounding competition. After a number of very intense rounds of spelling, the top three spellers from each grade emerged. The 1st place winners were awarded a 100 AED gift card to Vox Cinemas. The 2nd place winners were awarded two tickets to Vox Cinemas (valued at 75 AED), while the 3rd place winners were awarded one ticket to Vox Cinemas (valued at 35 AED). As with the Class Finals competition, the top three spellers from the Campus Finals competition also received a certificate of achievement, which was signed by the school principal, Mr. David Conway.
On May 23rd, the top four spellers in each of our four Grades (8 ATHS, 9 ATHS, 10 ATHS and 10 STS), who emerged from the Campus Finals competition, traveled to the ATHS/STS Dubai Boys Campus to compete in the Inter-Campus Spelling Bee. Spellers from each of the ATHS campuses came to participate. Similar to any sporting event, the competition was exciting, suspenseful, and incredibly fierce. Four students tied for 1st place in the Grade 8 ATHS competition, five students tied for 1st place in Grade 9 ATHS competition, and three students tied for 1st place in the Grade 10 ATHS competition. Although no student from the Fujairah Boys Campus came in 1st place, one student from our school nearly became the sixth student to tie for 1st place in the Grade 9 competition. Unfortunately, he misspelled the last word in the final round by only one letter (He spelled the word, “correspondence” as “correspondance”). Nevertheless, he walked away with 2nd place honors, and he inspired all of his fellow spellers from Fujairah, who witnessed his amazing performance, to aim higher next year. As for the English teachers, the school librarian, and the school principal, we salute all of our students for the tremendous effort they made to improve their spelling skills. And for our spellers who traveled to Dubai and competed so valiantly in the Inter-Campus Spelling Bee, we say, words cannot describe how proud we are of you. Congratulations to you all.