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New Zealand Spelling Bee is T-E-N

Media Release
Wednesday 26 February 2014

New Zealand Spelling Bee is T-E-N

B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y is the big word for The New Zealand Spelling Bee, which marked its tenth anniversary this week with a celebration at which the Minister of Education Hon Hekia Parata officiated.

The New Zealand Spelling Bee is run by a charitable trust aimed at instilling a love of language in New Zealand students.

Over the past decade thousands of New Zealand students have participated in the event, and while only nine have been crowned National Spelling Bee champion, they have all learned new words they will have for the rest of their lives.

Celebrating the birthday, Ms Hekia Parata and 2013 National Spelling Bee Champion Nithya Narayanan were on hand to cut the cake and launch a Years 1-8 classroom spelling programme to eager Year 5 and 6 spellers at Rata Street School in Wellington.

The programme is now available online and free of charge. Teachers can use this fun resource to help raise their spelling culture in the classroom.

The new resource has been developed with the support of new sponsor, ‘School’s Out’ Before and After School Care and Holiday programme. The New Zealand Spelling Bee will continue to run the annual much-loved National Spelling Bee competition. The next winner will receive the title of 2014 Spelling Bee Champion, $5000 and will be its tenth champion.

Spelling Bee organiser and founder Janet Lucas says she is thrilled to be celebrating such a milestone and that offering spelling resources to younger students has always been her vision.

“It’s great to have got to this point, and having a new sponsor means the event is resourced so it can get bigger and better.”

Another new development is the announcement of two annual teacher awards worth $5000 each. Says Lucas:

“I’ve been fortunate to meet dedicated teachers from all around the country. These awards acknowledge that we wouldn’t have the bee if it weren’t for their incredible support. I am deeply grateful and in awe of their work.”

Wayne Wright, chairperson of the Wright Family Trust and School’s Out owner operator, says the Spelling Bee reflected his commitment to supporting literacy in New Zealand children.

“The Wright Family Trust is committed to raising children’s literacy and this programme delivers on many levels. It’s free of charge and available to every child, no matter what socio economic background, so that anyone can be a good speller. Good spelling makes a difference in a child’s life, and eventually to an adult’s life. The Spelling Bee is a charity that quietly goes about making a positive difference to New Zealand children.”


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