Superior – Abundant exultant merriment was to be found for word enthusiasts in the diminutive burgh of Superior this Feb. 5, as 19 scholars in grades fourth through sixth engaged in competition to out spell one another in the annually held John F. Kennedy Elementary School Spelling Bee.
After nine rounds, 4th grader Aubreanna Nunez took first place spelling the words “intrinsic” and
“immense” to win. Fourth grader McKenna Duarte came in second and sixth grader Jared Moreno came in third.
All the students that participated in the Spelling Bee practiced very hard and did a great job, it was a
very close and exciting bee. Good luck to Aubreanna, McKenna, and Jared, as they move on to the Pinal County Spelling Bee, to be held on Feb. 15.
The exact origin and meaning of the word “bee” as is used in the context above is lost to time. We can still, however, use it in a sentence.
For example: “Aunt Martha enjoys spending time with her friends during the quilting bee.” By this example, and other similar usages of the word “bee,” we can see that the word refers to persons meeting together in a group to perform a specific action or function.
A “bee” is about community involvement, whether in large or small groups, and is intended to be an occasion of joy. The word that it is most often associated with is bēn, an old word of English origin which means “prayer.”
This, funnily enough, makes the word “bee” slang in this context, which is often discouraged in spelling bees.
According to Wikipedia, the earliest printed evidence of the phrase “spelling bee” dates back to 1825, and the key impetus for spelling bees getting their start in the United States was Noah Webster’s “The Blue-backed Speller” spelling book, which was an essential part of the curriculum for all elementary school children for five generations starting in 1786.
A newspaper, the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky started the United States National Spelling Bee in 1925, which in 1941 became sponsored by and named for Scripps Howard, until later being shortened simply to “Scripps National Spelling Bee.” Competitors come from all over the world, but especially the United States of America, where this most famous spelling bee began.
Annual spelling bees are held at the local level, as is exampled by the aforementioned local elementary spelling bee, and contestants move up in level until the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is now sponsored by educational foundations and newspapers, where the winner is awarded a cash prize.