A Voice For the Voiceless


The Advocacy Project (AP) recruits students to help marginalized communities tell their story and claim their rights.

My RSS Feed

Twitter: #apfellows

Posts tagged Spelling Bee


Cleia Noia | Posted August 15th, 2011 | Africa, girls' education

Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday we held the first Spelling Bee contest at the Enkakenya Centre for Excellence. The whole event was a success: the girls were very excited to participate, the teachers were great at keeping the event going in an orderly manner, and the gifts brought by two different groups of visitors who came to the school in the past couple of weeks made for amazing prizes for the girls.

Ready to start
Ready to start

The whole idea behind the Spelling Bee was to help the girls learn new words and stress the importance of improving their English skills. With this in mind, we had the girls take note of the difficult English words that they encountered in their lessons during a week, and then I went over those words and compiled different lists of 100 words each for Classes 4 to 6.

In spelling position!
In spelling position!

When the lists were ready, we went to each class, explained the concept of a Spelling Bee, wrote the words on the chalkboard and clarified any initial questions that they had about pronunciation. The girls then had to use the dictionaries to look up the meaning of the words, and after this was done they had to study them and memorize their spelling. We gave them around 3 weeks to study, and a new group of visitors (all native English speakers) helped the girls go over the words one more time on Saturday before the big day.

Places 1 to 10 in Class 4
Places 1 to 10 in Class 4

I must say that I was slightly apprehensive about the whole thing as I was not sure if the girls had really understood what was being asked of them or if they were taking the Spelling Bee seriously enough, but in the end we all had a great Sunday afternoon and the event was amazing, from beginning to end.

Places 1 to 10 in Class 5
Places 1 to 10 in Class 5

I cheered for each girl as they came in the room for their turn, and hoped that all of them would get their words right. Alas, that is not possible (or expected) in a Spelling Bee, but I still felt really sorry for the ones who got their words wrong. When a girl got her word right, the others who were watching would erupt in a loud cheer, and it was great to see all the girls who did get their words right go outside of the room jumping with excitement as they greeted their classmates and got back in line for another round.

Places 1 to 10 in Class 6
Places 1 to 10 in Class 6

Even though we stressed several times that the prizes were not the ultimate goal of the Spelling Bee, the girls were still more than happy during their awards ceremony. We awarded everyone with a beautiful, colorful sticker for their participation, and places 1 to 10 got bigger prizes that included stickers, pens and pencils, headbands, sweets and other shiny objects. I was happy (and relieved!) to see our girls doing very well throughout the competition and we even had a tie for 1st place in Class 4.

All the winners!
All the winners!

I certainly hope that this was the first of other Spelling Bees to come, and truly hope that our girls found this activity useful in their learning process. Personally, this will be one of my most cherished memories from my time in Enoosaen, and will certainly remember the joy on everyone’s faces at the end of the day.

Fellow: Cleia Noia

The Kakenya Center for Excellence


Africa Alternative Rite of Passage computer lessons East Africa Enkakenya Centre for Excelence Enkakenya Centre for Excellence Enoosaen female circumcision FGC FGM girls' education Kenya Spelling Bee




2013 Fellows


Benan Grams
Meron Menwyelet
Mohammed Alshubrumi
John Steies


Andra Bosneag
Chris Pinderhughes
Emily MacDonald
Jasveen Bindra
Kelly Howell
Raymond Aycock
Sujita Basnet

Middle East

Mona Niebuhr

2012 Fellows


Dane Macri
Laura McAdams
Mallory Minter
Megan Orr
Oluwatooni Akanni
Katie Hoffman


Adam Kruse
Alex Kelly
Alicia Evangelides
Heather Webb
Jesse Cottrell
Matthew Becker
Rachel Palmer


Claire Noone
Elise Filo

Latin America

Laura Burns

Middle East

Nur Arafeh
Thayer Hastings

North America

Caroline Risacher

2011 Fellows


Charlie Walker
Charlotte Bourdillon
Cleia Noia
Dina Buck
Jamyel Jenifer
Kristen Maryn
Rebecca Scherpelz
Scarlett Chidgey
Walter James


Amanda Lasik
Chantal Uwizera
Chelsea Ament
Clara Kollm
Corey Black
Lauren Katz
Maelanny Purwaningrum
Maria Skouras
Meredith Williams
Ryan McGovern
Samantha Syverson


Beth Wofford
Julia Dowling
Quinn Van Valer-Campbell
Samantha Hammer
Susan Craig-Greene

Latin America

Amy Bracken
Catherine Binet

Middle East

Nikki Hodgson

North America

Sarah Wang

2010 Fellows


Abisola Adekoya
Annika Allman
Brooke Blanchard
Christine Carlson
Christy Gillmore
Dara Lipton
Dina Buck
Josanna Lewin
Joya Taft-Dick
Louis Rezac
Ned Meerdink
Sylvie Bisangwa


Adrienne Henck
Karie Cross
Kerry McBroom
Kate Bollinger
Lauren Katz
Simon Kläntschi
Zarin Hamid


Laila Zulkaphil
Susan Craig-Greene
Tereza Bottman

Latin America

Karin Orr

North America

Adepeju Solarin
Oscar Alvarado

2009 Fellows


Adam Welti
Alixa Sharkey
Barbara Dziedzic
Bryan Lupton

Courtney Chance
Elisa Garcia
Helah Robinson
Johanna Paillet
Johanna Wilkie
Kate Cummings
Laura Gordon
Lisa Rogoff
Luna Liu
Ned Meerdink
Walter James


Abhilash Medhi
Gretchen Murphy
Isha Mehmood
Jacqui Kotyk
Jessica Tirado
Kan Yan
Morgan St. Clair
Ted Mathys


Alison Sluiter
Christina Hooson
Donna Harati
Fanny Grandchamp
Kelsey Bristow
Simran Sachdev
Susan Craig-Greene
Tiffany Ommundsen

Latin America

Althea Middleton-Detzner
Carolyn Ramsdell
Jessica Varat
Lindsey Crifasi
Rebecca Gerome
Zachary Parker

Middle East

Corrine Schneider
Rachel Brown
Rangineh Azimzadeh

North America

Elizabeth Mandelman
Farzin Farzad

2008 Fellows

Adam Nord
Annelieke van de Wiel
Juliet Hutchings
Kristina Rosinsky
Lucas Wolf
Chi Vu
Danita Topcagic
Heather Gilberds
Jes Therkelsen
Libby Abbott
Mackenzie Berg
Nicole Farkouh
Ola Duru
Paul Colombini
Raka Banerjee
Shubha Bala
Antigona Kukaj
Colby Pacheco
James Dasinger
Janet Rabin
Nicole Slezak
Shweta Dewan
Amy Offner
Ash Kosiewicz
Hannah McKeeth
Heidi McKinnon
Larissa Hotra
Hannah Wright
Krystal Sirman
Rianne Van Doeveren
Willow Heske

2007 Fellows

Johnathan Homer
Adam Nord
Audrey Roberts
Caitlin Burnett
Devin Greenleaf
Jeff Yarborough
Julia Zoo
Madeline England
Maha Khan
Mariko Scavone
Mark Koenig
Nicole Farkouh
Saba Haq
Tassos Coulaloglou
Ted Samuel
Alison Morse
Gail Morgado
Jennifer Hollinger
Katie Wroblewski
Leslie Ibeanusi
Michelle Lanspa
Stephanie Gilbert
Zach Scott
Abby Weil
Jessica Boccardo
Sara Zampierin
Eliza Bates
Erin Wroblewski
Tatsiana Hulko

2006 Interns

Laura Cardinal
Jessical Sewall
Alison Long
Autumn Graham
Donna Laverdiere
Erica Issac
Greg Holyfield
Lori Tomoe Mizuno
Melissa Muscio
Nicole Cordeau
Stacey Spivey
Anya Gorovets
Barbara Bearden
Lynne Engleman
Yvette Barnes
Charles Wright
Sarah Sachs

2005 Interns

Eun Ha Kim
Malia Mason
Anne Finnan
Carrie Hasselback
Karen Adler
Sarosh Syed
Shirin Sahani
Chiara Zerunian
Ewa Sobczynska
MacKenzie Frady
Margaret Swink
Sabri Ben-Achour
Nitzan Goldberger

2004 Interns

Ginny Barahona
Michael Keller
Sarah Schores
Melinda Willis
Pia Schneider
Stacy Kosko
Carmen Morcos
Christina Fetterhoff
Stacy Kosko
Bushra Mukbil

2003 Interns

Erica Williams
Kate Kuo
Claudia Zambra
Julie Lee
Kimberly Birdsall
Marta Schaaf
Caitlin Williams
Courtney Radsch