Spellling Bee returns to UMES March 1

  • Friday, February 21, 2014

    54 elementary, middle school students to compete  

      

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    Grace DrehmerPRINCESS ANNE, MD  -  (Feb. 21, 2014) - Top spellers from elementary and middle schools in Dorchester, Somerset and Wicomico counties converge on the University of Maryland Eastern Shore March 1 hoping to earn a trip to Washington, D.C.

    Among the 54 competitors in the 2nd annual Maryland Eastern Shore Regional Spelling Bee are 10 students who participated in the inaugural event a year ago.

    The event is free and begins at 10 a.m. in the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts on the UMES campus.

    A new wrinkle in the 2014 regional bee will be vocabulary. Competitors can expect an occasional question where they'll be given a challenging word and asked to pick a definition from two choices.

    The Scripps National Spelling Bee introduced vocabulary at the 2013 competition to encourage a broader understanding of language, and it has urged regional bee sponsors to embrace that philosophy this year.  

    The Maryland Eastern Shore regional bee champion wins an all-expense paid trip underwritten by UMES to compete in the National Bee May 25-31. The finals are broadcast on national TV.

    A year ago, 281 "spellebrities" from across the United States and several foreign countries participated in the National Bee. Khaled Mohamed, at the time a seventh-grader at Bennett Middle School in Salisbury, represented the Lower Shore.

    His younger brother, Omar, qualified as one of Bennett Middle's representatives this year, as did 2013 runner-up Grace Drehmer of Mardela Middle and High School.

    Lower Shore schools last fall were invited to identify two top spellers for the competition. Thousands of students in grades four-through-eight vied for the honor of being their schools' representatives.

    UMES' designated region includes Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester and Dorchester counties as well as students in the Delmar, DE school district. The university is among a handful of higher education institutions that sponsor a regional competition. UMES President Juliette Bell has called the university's role "a natural fit" because the institution has a long history of educator-training.

    In addition to a week's stay in Washington for the winner and a chaperone, the Maryland Eastern Shore's top speller will receive an unabridged dictionary and a keepsake medallion.


     Bill Robinson, director, public relations, (410) 621-2355