Rotary Helps With Elementary School Grades Spelling Bee - A Brief History

     Speller Bees have been buzzing around Boundary County since the 1980's.  The local Kiwanis sponsored the first years' without the involvement of the school district.  The objective was to recognize younger students in an academic way.

     In the late 1980's Larry Napier, who was a member of the Kiwanis, and Ruth Loveland, a teacher for Boundary County School District teamed up to bring the Bee into alignment with regional and national competitions.  Word lists were reorganized, and a structure established:  appropriate words lists by grade level, sentences and definitions created to assist the spellers in their understanding and usage of the words, competition by rounds and defined rules of elimination.  Kiwanis continued to co-sponsor the Bee until its dissolution.  At that time Rotary was invited to step into sponsorship, which it has graciously done.The Naples Helping Hands have partnered with Rotary and the School District for the past several years, providing the pronouncers for the competition.  The Free Methodist Church is also a partner, providing a comfortable and acoustic setting.

     Today each elementary and the middle school participate, beginning with third grade.  Regional and national competitions begin at fourth grade, but by including third grade, the students can gain practice and experience in competition.  Each class room conducts its own bee to determine who will advance to the District Bee.  The rules are practiced in the classroom competition so there is continuity throughout the levels.  Teachers and students are provided word lists from which to practice, as well as the rules of competition, and websites to explore for further information and word lists for practice. 

     This year's District Bee will be held on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at the Free Methodist Church in Bonners Ferry.  The competition will begin with third grade at 9:00 and proceed through fifth grade.  The Middle School conducts its own Bee for grades six though eight.

     Rotary's sponsorship makes possible the prizes for the competition.  Each first place winner receives a $25.00 gift card from Bonners Books; each second place winner receives a $15.00 fift card.  Rotary also provides the judges for the elementary competition.  This year's judges will be: Kathryn Star Heart, Ken Yount, and Dave Gray.

     Pronouncers from the Naples Helping Hands include:  Amy Anderson, Jeneen Schuler, and Martha Jones.  Coordinators for the event are:  Ruth Loveland, Alice Hendrickson and Dottie Gray.

     First place winners of the District Bee may advance to the North Idaho Regional Spelling Bee which is held on the campus of North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene on Saturday, March 19th, 2011.  Regional Bee winners have the opportunity to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.; date yet to be announced.