2008 Bee


June 8, 2008   Paris


Eighteen children made history on June 8th at the 2008 Paris Spelling Bee, organized by GiF and held at the American Library in Paris.

Alissa Johnson, 8,  won the trophy in the 7-9 year-old Gazelles group,  and Amelie Matisse, 10, won the competition for the 10-13 year-old Cheetahs.

Second place winners were  7-year-old Jack Souami for the Gazelles and 11-year-old Shannon Connelly for the Cheetahs.

All 18 children showed amazing courage and talent in this unforgiving sport, which eliminates participants after a single error.  The children came from a cross-section of schools in Paris: public, bilingual and private. This will become an annual event, and eventually  we hope to encourage different schools
throughout Paris, as well as home schoolers, to hold qualifying bees and send their winners to a main GiF event at the end of each year. The spelling bee was open to any child who attended at least two practice sessions and met the age limits. The first requirement was aimed at encouraging children to find friendship and get a bit of training leading up to the final event. A majority of the participants came to all 5 preliminary meetings.  We took our lead from the official site of the Scripps National Spelling Bee and contacted them about finding a sponsor so that perhaps one day our Paris winner can qualify for their annual  competition in Washington, D.C.

We are extremely grateful to the American Library in  Paris for their support and for opening up the library on a Sunday for the finals of the bee and to our pronouncers, Director of ALP Charles Trueheart and  journalist Anne Swardson.
If you would like to help organize a spelling bee at your school please contact me so that we can begin to build a list of potential participating schools and organizations.

Helen Sahin Connelly,