Costa Rican English students will compete in a spelling bee

Expats who have trouble with i before e except after cor neighbor or weigh probably could learn a few bits of English Wednesday and Thursday when 42 top public school English students compete in an old fashioned spelling bee.

The students are from all over the country, but the bee is in  Centro Turístico La Sabana in San Marcos de Tarrazú. In addition to the participants, the Ministerio de Educación Pública said there will be at least 150 observers in the audience.

The event is being assisted by volunteers of the U.S. Peace Corps and the Fundación CRUSA, said the ministry.

In addition to the spelling bee, English teachers will discuss new and better ways to teach the language

Plenty of expats can empathize with the Costa Rica students. They, too, stood before a stern teacher or perhaps a grimacing nun awaiting their turn to tackle a spelling bee word. Most would agree that English spelling is challenging and unlike the phonetic Spanish language.

The first U.S. national competition took place in 1925, but famed artist and chronicler of the human condition Norman Rockwell used a spelling bee scene in one of his oils in 1918.
It is called “Cousin Reginald Spells Peloponnesus” and captures the smug look of the winner and the envy of those who could not spell the name of the Greek peninsula.

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