|Int'l Women's Day flowers!|
Yesterday was Gostivar's qualifier for the National Spelling Bee. The National Bee has become quite an event. Last year we had over 500 kids there, so we made the qualifiers tougher for this year, but with the growing number of communities participating, we may have as many or more this year. We had 231 students from 5th to 12th grade turn out in Gostivar. They had to spell 10 words from their grade's word list to qualify, and 44 kids qualified! Each student was tested individually, so it was quite a busy day! When a student did qualify, it was so fun to hear their friends as they walked out of the room waving their invitation to the National Bee. They whooped and hollered and cheered! And I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see all these kids working so hard to learn English and have to spell some pretty challenging words. The other thing that was so cool was that it was truly a multi-ethnic event. This year we added Turkish translations to the Albanian and Macedonian translations to encourage more Turkish students to turn out and it was successful. Of our qualifiers, 19 were Albanian, 18 were Macedonian, and 7 were Turkish. I am so grateful to everyone who helped: the teenagers from the Young Men's Leadership Project, Verica from Club GLOW, the teacher from the gjimnasija, the husband of another teacher, and Sarita - all of whom helped with translations, tracking, keeping the kids under control as they waited, sometimes for a very long time, and general organization. And a special thanks to Mustafa Qemali Ataturk School for letting us hold the qualifier there. Now on to the National Spelling Bee on April 7th!