In the face of cancellations because of COVID-19, Geary Elementary kept its annual spelling bee going with the help of Zoom.
The annual spelling bee usually takes place in one room with the entire student body watching in person; this year, the school turned the spelling bee into a virtual experience, something that students have grown somewhat accustomed to, said Geary Elementary School Principal Sean Buchanan.
Buchanan, whose two kids participated in the event, said students saw this year’s spelling bee as being “a little different.”
This year, the classroomlevel sections of the spelling bee were done in each individual classroom before transitioning toward the finalist section of the event.
“When everybody kind of saw how we were going to use the technology, it was no big deal,” Buchanan said. “Our kids have done this so often with just regular classwork. Once they understood the ins and outs of it, it was OK.”
And understand it they did.
After completing the classroom-level section, finalists were taken into the cafeteria so that they could compete in person.
The event was done over Zoom with each finalist, pronouncer, and speller on camera for the audience to watch.
The entire student body as well as the student's parents and relatives were able to login via Zoom in order to watch the event. Buchanan said that somewhere around 300 people watched the spelling bee.
One student, fifth-grader Jacob Sanchez, came out on top as the winner of the spelling bee.
“Zoom was more difficult for me because I was afraid I was going to lag and the teacher would say I took too long and get it wrong,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez, who won last year’s spelling bee, said he felt confident during the event and that winning the spelling bee felt great.
The toughest word Sanchez was faced with the year was ‘berbay’ though the longest word he’s able to spell is ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.’
Sanchez said the most challenging part was when the bee was down to the final two contestants.
“I’m proud of all of our kids who participated. We know some of them worked very hard and we want to continue to try to provide as much normalcy as we can, even though this is not a normal school year,” Buchanan said.