Back lakes students compete at national spelling bee

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Three Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority (KTCEA) students competed at the 2024 Spelling Bee of Canada Championship in Toronto on May 26.

All three won three rounds.

Joel Laboucan is from Elizabeth Quintal School in Peerless Lake. He competed in the primary category (ages six to eight).

Joel won three rounds, but in the tie breaker round, he and five other students were eliminated.

“He competed against 25 students and made his family, KTCEA and himself proud,” says Emma Anso, literacy specialist with KTCEA, who accompanied the kids to Ontario.

Nhyria Yeboah is from Cadotte Lake School in Cadotte Lake. Nhyria is in her first year in Canada. Her family moved here from Ghana. She competed in the junior (ages nine to 11), which had 24 students. She and four other students were eliminated in the tie breaker.

For the tie breaker, the wors are more challenging and not on the list the contestants were given before the competition.

Kyle Oar is from Kateri School in Trout Lake. He competed in the intermediate (ages 12 -14) category. He also won three rounds and was eliminated in the tie breaker.

“Kyle was eliminated on a difficult word, ‘ecdysis,’” says Anso. “This is the process of a snake shedding skin. Three other competitors were stumped by this spelling.”

“I have liked learning how to study for words over the last year,” says Kyle. “I am looking forward to competing next year, it will be my last year. Flying has been my favourite part of the whole spelling bee experience.”

“Kyle has worked so hard,” says Bonnie Oar, Kyle’s mom. “It has been an amazing experience.”

“It has been an amazing experience for my son, from the plane to adventures,” says, Joanie Houle Joel’s mom. “The spelling bee has motivated him to practice words and sounds, outside school. It was nerve-wracking watching him on stage. I think I was more nervous than him. His confidence and smile made this worth it.”

Laurel Young works at Elizabeth Quintal School. She had after-school clubs, and provided one-on-one support for families, upon requests. She was one of the chaperones to Ontario.

“I was very impressed with the preparation of the contestants,” she says. “The level of studying and confidence each student came to the competition with.”

Joel Laboucan, Kyle Oar, and Nhyria Yeboah at Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto, Ontario, a long way from their home in the back lakes of Alberta. They were there to represent Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority (KTCEA) at the 2024 Spelling Bee of Canada Championship on May 26.
Photo courtesy of KTCEA.

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