Students compete at national spelling bee

Joel Laboucan, left, and Kyle Oar, centre, and Nhyria Yeboah at Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto, a long way from their home in the Back Lakes region of Alberta. They were at Toronto to represent Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority at the 2024 Spelling Bee of Canada Championship on May 26. Photo courtesy of KTCEA.

Pearl Lorentzen
For South Peace News

Three Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority (KTCEA) students competed at the 2024 Spelling Bee of Canada Championship in Toronto on May 26.

All three students won three rounds.

Joel Laboucan is from Elizabeth Quintal School in Peerless Lake. He competed in the primary category (ages six to eight). He won three rounds, but in the tiebreaker round, Laboucan and five other students were eliminated.

“He competed against 25 students and made his family, KTCEA and himself proud,” says Emma Anso, literacy specialist with KTCEA, who accompanied the students to Ontario.

Nhyria Yeboah is from Cadotte Lake School in Cadotte Lake. She is in her first year in Canada. Her family moved here from Ghana. She competed in the junior category (ages nine to 11), which had 24 students. She and four other students were eliminated in the tiebreaker.

“The tiebreaker round is words students were not given, and which are more challenging, odd spelling, etc.,” says Anso.

Kyle Oar is from Kateri School in Trout Lake. He competed in the intermediate category (ages 12 -14). He also won three rounds and was eliminated in the tiebreaker.

“Kyle was eliminated on a difficult word ‘ecdysis,’” says Anso. “This is the process of a snake shedding skin. Three other competitors were stumped by this spelling.”

“I have liked learning how to study for words over the last year,” says Oar.

“I am looking forward to competing next year, it will be my last year. Flying has been my favourite part of the whole spelling bee experience,” he adds.

“Kyle has worked so hard,” says Bonnie Oar, Kyle’s mom.

“It has been an amazing experience.”

Another parent agrees.

“It has been an amazing experience for my son, from the plane to adventures,” says Joanie Houle, Joel’s mother.

“The spelling bee has motivated him to practice words and sounds, outside school. It was nerve-wracking watching him on stage, I think I was more nervous than him. His confidence and smile, made this worth it.”

Laurel Young works at Elizabeth Quintal School. She organized after- school clubs, and provided one-on-one support for families, upon requests. She was one of the chaperones to Ontario.

“I was very impressed with the preparation of the contestants,” she says.

“The level of studying and confidence each student came to the competition with,” she concludes.

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