Twenty-one children tested their literacy skills onstage during Lethbridge’s annual spelling bee on Saturday.
Jenny Cofell, a librarian at the Lethbridge Public Library, said the event helps promote the importance of literacy throughout childhood years.
“We think literacy is very important,” Cofell said.
Sabri Mahmoud, a spelling bee competitor, knows the importance of literacy all too well. So far, the Grade 4 student has taken part in three spelling competitions in the city, earning his first win at the library’s spelling bee last year.
“I love to read… and I love spelling,” Mahmoud said.
“In Grade 1, I got seventh place. In Grade 2, I got fifth place, and in Grade 3, I won.”
Mahmoud said he trained for weeks with the hope of clinching the title again this year. But as one of the youngest competitors, he fell a little short, exiting the spelling bee in his fourth round.
WATCH BELOW (May 2019): National Spelling Bee champ Aiden Kwon
Saturday’s spelling bee saw two Grade 6 students sparring for the top spot, with the trophy finally going to Tahmid Faizul after almost two hours of competition.
Cofell noted this year’s contest saw exceptional talent, although it’s not uncommon to see children with advanced spelling skills during the annual competition.
“At this bee especially, the kids are very keen and they have studied hard,” she said. “Sometimes we can get up to Grade 9, 10 and even Grade 11 words.”
The yearly competition has two age categories: a mini bee for children in Grades 1 to 3, and a spelling bee for children in Grades 4 to 6.