Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Peace Corps Guinea Spelling Bee

Thanks to three very hard-working Volunteers: Geoff Delperdang (G22, Télimélé), Liz Chadwick (G20, Boké), and Hannah Koeppl (G24, Kankan), hundreds of Guinean students had the opportunity to participate in spelling bees at the school, regional, and national levels. Each Education Volunteer (and a few Extension Volunteers) held a school spelling bee at their middle school. The top two students from each school then had the chance to compete in a regional bee, with each region holding two bees. From each of these, the top three students moved on to the final round: the national bee in Mamou. In Mamou, before the competition at the hotel ENATEF, we did a variety of team-building activities and games with the students. They and the Volunteers had a lot of fun, and each of the kids made some new friends. The activities also served to loosen the kids up a bit, so that they would not be performing in front of a crowd of complete strangers. The spelling bee competition represented an excellent opportunity to expand the horizons of our young students. First and foremost, it got them about excited about studying French. Second, dozens of students had the opportunity to get out and experience something different from their village, probably many of them for the first time. Finally, for those lucky enough to reach the final round in Mamou, it was a really beautiful thing to watch kids from all across Guinea, with different backgrounds and languages, work together and compete in a spirit of friendly competition. More than the spelling of difficult French words, we hope that is what our students continue to carry with them after this experience. Ryan Plesh

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