St James School - Foreign Language Spelling Bee Success

The Foreign Language Spelling Bee is a national competition for students in Year 7 (aged 11) who are learning a foreign language to practise and improve their vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation and memory skills in the target language (French, Spanish and German). Competitors progress through heats at class, school and regional level, working over the course of the year to memorise a list of 200 words in Spanish. They have just one minute to translate into Spanish and spell as many of those words as possible. 30300 students across the country entered the competition in September across three languages, who were whittled down to just 99 students who competed in the national final. Just to be invited, competitors had earned their place in the top 0.3% of initial entrants.

St James has had a fantastic year in the competition, sending not one but two of the four Regional Spanish Champions from the southwest forward to the National Final, which took place on Monday 1 July at Lady Mitchell Hall at the University of Cambridge. Ved Jan Kumar and Daria Pecyna have been extremely dedicated in the way they have tackled the word lists at each stage of the competition, and their commitment in attending practice sessions at lunchtimes, and even roping in parents to support them has been really impressive. Judges’ decisions are final and made in secret, but in practice sessions Ved and Daria were averaging between 18 and 20 words a minute, selected completely at random; a very impressive performance!

Huge congratulations to all students involved, and an extra-big “well done” to Ved, who had returned from Cambridge as the 2019 Spanish Spelling Bee National Champion! He has won a Key Stage 3 Spanish subscription to Vocab Express for St James School, and a fabulous trophy! We could not be more proud.