Advanced Essay #2: Say it, Spell it, Say it Again

This essay shows the strong connection that I developed with my dad because of spelling. It talks about how we helped each other out with other things and the connection became closer. My goal of this essay was to show how I became a better speller and how it affected my connection with my family members. 


When I was in fifth grade, I was in my school’s spelling bee. It started off as one of the times that I’ve been the most worrisome. It ended up being one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I can almost remember how I was feeling all throughout the night.

I have been a speller all my life. When I came home from school each day, my dad would have a new word for me to spell, or a new set of flashcards, depending on what we learned in school that day. He would make it fun by putting the words on big white pieces of poster paper and he would write the words nice and big so that I could see the words. At that same time, I was helping my dad learn how to print again, since he only wrote in cursive and I was also learning how to write. So we helped each other out each day after school and sometimes even on the weekends. It was a way that my dad and I could bond over things, since he was usually working at night.

As time went by, I became a better speller and the words would get harder as I became more advanced. My dad and I had this process where he would run through the words once or twice so that I could get an idea of what those words were. Then he would have me write each of the words down on paper a few times so that I could memorize the words and watch myself spell them. After we did that, he said the word and then had me say the words, spell them and say it again. That was the technique that I used from then on when I was learning new words to spell and when I started to have spelling tests in school, that was what I would say to myself quietly when taking the test. We would take these tests every other week, and that would give me enough time to study the words and go over them with my dad.

After I finished 3rd grade, my dad no longer studied with me. He said that I was old enough to do that on my own and that he would always be there to help. I would eventually have to learn how to do that on my own. I felt that because of this, we weren’t going to be as close, because I thought that we wouldn’t continue to connect over our special thing.

In the article I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.,  “Wrong. If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use “it’s,”then that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with. So, even in this hyper-competitive market, I will pass on a great programmer who cannot write. Grammar signifies more than just a person’s ability to remember high school English. I’ve found that people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing — like stocking shelves or labeling parts.”

At first, studying by myself was hard because I would sometimes be tempted to look at the words or I wouldn’t be able to visualize the spelling because I had to look at the words to know which word I was spelling. After many times of attempting to study by myself, I found a way to study without going back and forth between finding the words and trying to spell the words. I would make note cards on Quizlet with the different words that I would get each week and I would study them using the different sections and ways to study them, until I felt ready enough to take the test that was available. I used Quizlet all the time when I had to study for my tests and I did really well on them, and while taking them I still continued to say the word, spell the word and say it again in my head when I took the test.

Each year, around spring time the school would give every grade a spelling test with different words, depending on their grade level. After we took that test, a few weeks later we would get the tests back, and depending on your score it would tell you if you made it into the school-wide spelling bee, and I was so happy when I found out that I had gotten in the spelling bee. The day after we got the tests back we got the words that we had to study, because there would be some of the words that we would spell the day of the spelling bee, which was about 2 months later.

During that time, my dad helped me study each day to get prepared for the spelling bee at school. We used those techniques to study until the night of the spelling bee. I was so nervous that day until I had to go to school in the evening. My parents, sister, uncle, and grandparents came to support me and cheer me on. I remember they gave us numbers at the start and my number was 24. I remember them telling us and the parents that the spellers couldn’t have any food or water on the stage to prevent cheating, which at that time I thought was unfair. I do remember feeling very nervous about walking in because I didn’t know if I was dressing the right way for that type of thing. I was about to be up on the stage in front of a whole auditorium full of people.

I was sitting in the front row with the other fifth graders that I was up against. The rows went back by grade and the spelling bee stopped at 8th graders, which were the oldest in the school. As I went up to spell my first word, my palms were sweating and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to talk. Either way, I was already at the microphone, listening carefully to the word. Spell it, say it, spell it again. I spell the word correctly and sit back in my seat, listening to the spellers, either hearing correct or incorrect and waiting for my next turn. Turn after turn, I was spelling and hearing correct, sitting back down and waiting. After half of the students were eliminated, we took a short intermission for everyone. Afterwards, we continued until there was 3 people left: Me and two other sixth graders. At this point my heart was racing because I wasn’t sure if I was going to beat them or get eliminated. When it was my turn to go up, I went up to get ready to spell the word, which was harder than the past words have been. I spell it correctly and I sit down feeling more confident than I did when I went up.

We are down to the final word and one of the sixth graders is up, he doesn’t spell it correctly. The next sixth grader goes up, doesn’t spell it correctly and it is now my chance to spell it correctly. I spell that correct, and now I’m feeling really good. All I have to do is spell the next word correct.

They say, “Spell Mandate.”

“Mandate. M-a-n-d-a-t-e. Mandate.”

“Correct. Congratulations on being the youngest winner in the school history to win the spelling bee.”

I knew that my dad and I really became close after all the hard work we put into this really paid off. We have had a stronger connection ever since that day.