The Spelling Bee

September 25, 2011
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“And the last word is”…my 5th grade teacher was Mrs. Alice Stewart and she was a firecracker. She assured me that doing the spelling bee at my elementary school would make me a shoe in for the student Beta Team there. The Beta Team is an organization whose duty is to promote the ideals of academic achievement, character, service and leadership among elementary and secondary school students; through debate, theater, and dance. I favored Mrs. Stewart; she was so much more than a smiling face to me, and of course I agreed.

When I made it home that day, I had realized I made a terrible mistake. There was no way I was going to win that spelling bee with Aaron, the smartest boy in the world as one of my competitors. I said to myself, “I should just drop out”, after throwing my book bag to the floor. I fell back and sunk into my bed, trying to figure out how to tell Mrs. Stewart I didn’t want to participate anymore, and not only that, but a good lie as to why. I couldn’t tell her the truth, she would just ignore it with a light smile and say, “Awe, just do your best”, but what if my best wasn’t good enough? I refused to be embarrassed. I had to think of something, and quick, it was only a few days away.

The next day walking into school felt like a jungle; I was trying to avoid the beast, and in this case the beast was Mrs. Stewart. I figure if she didn’t see me at all today, which meant skipping her class, I could come to school the next day and tell her I was sick and wouldn’t be able to participant in the contest. On my way to my hideout, the girls’ bathroom, my ears tuned in on an interesting conversation coming from Mr. Brooks, the other English teacher, and the smartest boy in the world’s teacher, classroom. “Look Aaron if you think you’ve forgotten a word or how to spell it, look at me, I’ll be in the audience,” Mr. Brooks spoke, “Yes sir,” Aaron replied. I couldn’t believe it, Aaron Macano is a cheater, I thought. As I continued to my secret hideout, I felt someone tap me on my shoulder, “Going somewhere?” just hearing her voice made my skin crawl at this point. “Hey Mrs. Stewart”, I managed to murmur out in a distasteful voice. “Is there a problem? Are you ready for the spelling bee?” Just when I was about to tell her IM OUT, the thought watered my brain like an unexpected storm. Aaron Macano isn’t smart, he just pretends to be, “Of course I’m ready Mrs. Stewart”, and I spoke with a smile.

After my encounter with Mrs. Stewart, I went to get the list of words for the spelling bee; I wanted to study my brains out, because I really wanted that position in the Beta Club. I only had a day or two to study so I did whatever it took. Writing all 40 words into a song; “I’m gonna win, I’m, I’m, I’m gonna win”, I sung to myself as I made my way on the bus. Usually the bus was as loud as a concert, but today you could hear a feather drop. Walking down the aisle felt as though I was walking down cell blocks; I’ve never been in a prison before, but I was sure this was the same feeling “fresh meat” got when they entered. I found a sit next to the “quite girl”, as we called her, however her name was Katelyn. I spoke, but she didn’t reply, she just sat there, doodling all over her notebook. I couldn’t help, but be nosey, and realized, Hey, those are the same words I’m studying for the spelling bee, wonder if she’s in the contest. At my stop, I pranced off the bus, humming, “I’m gonna win “, in tune.

As I entered my room I could picture the spelling bee trophy sitting right next to the shelf that would become my Beta Club shelf, filled with all my many awards that would be placed there. I had always wanted to be in the Beta Club since 1st grade, and here I was in the 4th grade working towards it, as if it didn’t take long enough already. Plus, just the thought of being on stage, performing in front of people made me feel like a celebrity. I smiled at the thought of everybody clapping and cheering as I leave off-stage from a marvelous performance. “Encore, encore”, that’s what people would screamed as I head off stage. Yeah I’ll be famous; I thought as I fell back on my bed and dosed of to sleep.

It was the big day, and the gym had been decorated to look completely different. There were red ribbons on each chair, placed on the wooden stage that sat in the middle of the floor, with forty total. I didn’t know there would be those many participants. On the sides of the room, there were long tables, filled with cookies, cakes, chips, punch, and more. Although I was very disappointed after I found out it was for after the spelling bee. “Those are refreshments; please take your place on stage young lady”, the director, Mrs. Mixon strongly stated, “Ugh”, I pouted as I made my way to the stage.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, parents and friends the moment we’ve all been waiting on, let’s start this contest”, the host announced. As the crowd clapped and cheered, we prepared ourselves, even though I knew I had this in the bag. We had been no more than 10 minutes into it, when I couldn’t help, but notice some old woman getting pushed in, in a wheelchair. She looked like a witch and honestly she gave me the creeps. However, I continued to sing my “words” song in my head, repetitiously. After about 30 minutes into it 15 people had already been eliminated. I was beginning to become nervous now, because I was the only one standing on my row. Plus, it was hard to concentrate with angry parents upset about their child’s dismissal from the competition. At the 30 minute mark they allowed us to get water or juice at one of the near-by tables, now on solid ground, I could help, but ask who the old woman was. A nearby-stander heard me puzzling over her identity, and approached me. “That’s quite girl’s grandmother”, they spoke and walked away. “Wonder why she’s here”, I didn’t realize I spoke out loud until somebody replied, “She’s dying and wanted to see her granddaughter win the spelling bee.” I couldn’t believe it; I quickly finished my cup, and headed back onstage.

The competition was slowly decreasing, and at the 59 minute mark only 3 stood, Aaron, Katelyn, and I. “Aaron please spell belligerent,” the judges the spoke. “Uhm”, he spoke as I could see him searching the room for Mr. Brooks, who seem to have been missing, “B, e, l, l, i, t, g, e, r, a, n, t, bellitgerant”. “Sorry, that is incorrect”. The whole room gasped, and I did so myself, even though I knew he was a dirty cheat. I wanted so bad to smile as he took the walk of shame. Cheaters never win, I thought as I watched him leave the stage. “Precious spell the word belligerent”, they asked. “B, e, l, l, i, g, e, r, e, n, t, belligerent”, I spoke with a smile. “That’s correct”. I know, I thought as a cockiness begun to fill me; that beta position is so mine. “And the last word is…..tantamount.” Katelyn had stepped up to the microphone and spelled the word correctly. Well guess we’re going into overtime, I thought as they gave another word, patronize. I know this, I thought to myself as I begun to spell the word, and looked out to the crowd and there she was, that creepy, old wicked lady, looking dead at me. I could win this thing, I thought, I really could, just then I opened my mouth and begun to spell, “P, a, t, r, o, n, i, z, z, patronize”, I replied with a smile. “Sorry, that is incorrect, ladies and gentlemen our winner of the elementary spelling bee, Mrs. Katelyn”. So I took the “walk of shame”, but I had learnt a valuable lesson that day, what maybe minor in your life, can be major in somebody’s else life; I just bet her grandmother was so proud of her.

On the way home I thought about a lot of stuff, the way Aaron had tried to cheat, I begun to wonder about how many time he had in fact cheated. I thought about the Beta Club and the position that I so badly wanted. Well guess I won’t be in the Beta Club this year neither, I thought to myself as I had become closer to my house. But I told myself it was for a good reason, I had felt good about losing the competition, I caught a glimpse of her grandmother’s face has I took my, “walk of shame”, and she didn’t look so wicked and creepy. Her face was glowing and it looked as though her skin had rejuvenated, and a kool-laid smile had grown across her face. I caught myself smiling at the thought of the old lady’s happiness, she isn’t half bad, I thought to myself. When I got to my room I looked at the shelf I had reserved for my spelling bee trophy and Beta Club awards, and found myself talking to it. “Maybe next year, buddy, maybe next year”.

The next day, the school bus was back to being the chaotic bus I’m used to. Everybody was talking, sharing stories, and reviewing homework. As I was taking my place in the back at an empty seat, I noticed something. “Quite girl”, wasn’t being quite at all today, everybody was asking her about the spelling bee. “Was it hard”, one boy asked, “Did you have to spell a long word with like a zillions letters”, another girl asked. I changed the world I smiled to myself with a cockiness, ugh I do so much, I thought as an inside joke between me and myself. At school, during one of my classes, a teacher came in and asks to speak to me outside the room. “Precious, I know what you did”, she said. “Ugh, I didn’t do anything”, I quickly responded believing that I was in trouble. “You let Katelyn win, that was sweet of you, and that was definitely Beta material”, she said with a light smile. My heart felt as though as if it had hit the pit of my stomach. “Are you saying what I think your saying?” I could barely compose myself, “Yes you are definitely Beta material”, she stated eyeing Mrs. Stewart, who had appeared out of nowhere. “Yep, you are really something special”, Mrs. Stewart added. “Really, thanks, thank the both of you and I promise I won’t let neither of you down or the Beta Club, I promise, I promise I promise”.

When I made it home that day, I was filled with excitement, I ran to my room threw my book-bag in a nearby counter and jumped in my bed. “YES, YES!!” I was definitely the happiest person in the world at this time, I felt as though I was sitting on cloud 9. After my small celebration, I looked over at my shelf with a smiling face, and thought, Wow who would have thought, so much could change, thanks to The Spelling Bee.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Maria09 said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm
Maria09 said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm
Actually this is more than just a story why would I lie, esp to people I don't know and could care less about. As far as the missed spelling, I'm sure we all make typo I should have reviewed better. For future notice make sure you criticizing sound contructive and not obnoxious. Thanks :)
dantweinand said...
Sept. 30, 2011 at 6:40 pm
First of all, it was a very nice and touching story.  However, it seems to be just that, a story.  If this was a series of events which really happened to you, I am amazed and impressed.  I apologize, but it seems unrealistic.  Finally, the spelling is quiet, not "quite".  Minor spelling errors can easily take one out of the essay, especially when the essay is about spelling.
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