They were phenomenal!

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Faton with his 5th graders

So now the Regional Spelling Bees are over and we are ready to head into the Nationals. I registered a total of 29 students for the Skopje Regional Bee from three different schools. The fifth graders were from my host brother’s school and I had worked with them off and on and just two days before the bee to let them hear words pronounced by a native American English speaker. Two of the four went to the final round and one of them emerged as a National Bee finalist. She was ecstatic. Now I will try to get her ready for the National Bee which means she needs to learn the words at the high school level also. And her portion of the spelling bee tends to be the longest. Those fifth graders are incredibly smart and competitive!

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My 6th grade girls

We had sixth graders from both the main school of Emin Duraku in Bukoviq (Boo-ka-vitch) and my satellite school in Arnaqi (Are-nuh-chee) I helped prepare them by hosting practice spelling bees. The hardest things for these students is not knowing what American English pronunciation will be like since these are not words normally found in their English lessons. So it becomes imperative for them to practice the words repeatedly–preferably as spoken by a native speaker. So at the end of the 6th grade round, we had another qualifier for the National Bee from Bukoviq.

Seventh graders didn’t do as well, unfortunately. But I was fairly certain they wouldn’t as they had trouble mastering the 7th grade list and never made it to the next level. They were incredibly excited by being selected to participate but they just didn’t make the final round. I’m still incredibly proud of them for trying.

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Teacher Jeta keeping my 8th graders busy.

Eighth and ninth grade were combined and studied from the same list. I had six eighth graders and two ninth graders. One of my 8th graders pulled out at the last minute as he was also enrolled in a math competition that day and didn’t think he could make it in time for the bee. So the spelling begins and people are being eliminated. I had accounted for five of my seven students in this bee but two ┬ástill have not come out. As I peek in rooms I see that these two students are now in the final round of the competition. But now Vjollca has misspelled her word and she is out. We all sat around waiting and waiting for Sara. Finally, she came out in tears. She had misspelled “itinerary” and would not be headed to the national bee. I could not have been prouder of all my students. They conducted themselves beautifully and practiced good sportsmanship as well. I now have two students headed to the national bee and that makes me very happy. My goal was to get at least one!

To make the weekend even better, Susie and I had rented an apartment downtown–far enough away from the city center that Goce let us go that far into town since it was for Spelling Bee. On Friday night before the bee, we went out for a wonderful dinner and then went to the movies. We saw “My Big Fat Greek Wedding – 2” and laughed ourselves silly while watching it. There were only 6 of us in the theater and we were the only two laughing out loud. And then Sunday morning, we had a lazy morning, got checked out and went and did a little shopping. I finally made it back home ┬áto my ever present dinner of……….BEANS! Now to prep for the National Bee. We have four weeks until that.

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Eileen

A 60 something woman who has run off to faraway places with the Peace Corps.

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