Students from 80 schools in the District recently participated in the beginning stages of The Washington Informer Charities Spelling Bee.
The competition took place from Feb. 5-7 at Langley Elementary School in Northeast. Students from District who attend public, charter, parochial and private schools, as well as those who are home-educated, participated in the contest.
Jason Moore, who served as pronouncer and helped coordinate the event, read the words from a nationally approved list from the Scripps National Spelling Bee to the students and gave the definition to them if asked.
Moore said the competition went well through the three-day period.
“I am very pleased with the way the clusters went,” he said. “The students were excited about the competition.”
The Informer bee is part of the Scripps event that takes place annually in the D.C. area, with the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., serving as the venue since 2011. The participants in the Scripps bee are regional winners from throughout the country that includes territories such as Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Navajo Nation and the U.S. Virgin Islands and military bases in Germany and South Korea.
In the District, the competition starts at the schools, Moore said. The competitors for the Informer bee are from third to eighth grade, he said.
Moore said the Informer Bee competition starts in the classroom, with students competing against their classmates. From there, he said, students face off against their classmates.
The individual school winner competes in the cluster bee. The clusters are determined by whether they are elementary or middle school institutions.
Moore said he tries to have a positive message for each student at the cluster level.
“Before I start the competition at the cluster stage, I tell each of the students ‘you are already a champion for standing on this stage,’” he said. “I say that to encourage them because, for most of them, this is the end of their journey.”
Moore said the top six students in the five clusters will proceed to the Informer bee’s final round on Feb. 29 at the D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment headquarters in Northeast. All of the finalists will receive awards and prizes, with the victors eligible to compete at the national competition that will take place May 24-29 at the Gaylord.
Moore, manager of elementary assessments and interventions for the District’s public school system, said participating in the bee for a third straight year has been enjoyable.
“I really enjoy working with the students and the family,” he said. “I like seeing these young scholars show up and show off their skills. They are standing on that stage as champions and they are two steps away from being on national television.
“More importantly, the fact that they signed up to participate in this means a lot,” Moore said. “They are having the experience of a lifetime and they can take in that they beat everyone in their school to get here.”