At the beginning of the school year, I got a call from JJ’s teacher right when I was in drive line to pick him up. She said, “I know you are probably here to pick JJ up but he has expressed interest in joining the spelling bee. They are practicing right now, is it okay if he stays for practice.” I said, “of course”, and that began many many weeks of spelling practice at school and at home. It was also many weeks of JJ not wanting to practice. But it was his idea to sign up, so I just couldn’t let him not practice. Even when he didn’t quite feel like it. I bought so many flashcards and JJ studied after school for about half an hour each day. He’d get frustrated with me sometimes and he’d give me the eye roll when I told him it was time to practice his words, but he put in the effort and studied.
He made it to fourth place in the school spelling bee, and since he was within the top ten spellers, that gave him an automatic spot in the district spelling bee. Before JJ placed in the school spelling bee, I don’t think he really had much confidence in himself. But after he placed fourth, he felt like he had a decent chance at the district spelling bee. I could see when I asked him to practice he did it with less of an attitude. He was way more eager to write his words and be verbally tested each day.
On the day of the District Spelling Bee, he was one of 199 students. All students start off taking a written spelling test to be able to make it to the oral round. Out of 199 spellers, JJ was in the top 28 students that made it to the oral round and the only student from his school to make it. Once the oral round began, which was broadcast live on the district Facebook page, JJ made it through four rounds, which was about 15th or 16th place.
Just that he made it as far as he made it is amazing! I told him that it proves that hard work pays off. That his studying paid off and that he should be very proud of himself for making it as far as he did.
I’m really proud of this kiddo and all he has accomplished at his new school. He’s made the honor roll and he’s really excelled in all areas of his education. He has a few wonderful friends and he’s really making a place for himself here.
I could not be more proud of him.
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