By GABRIELLA CRUZ-MARTÍNEZ
Aaron Faier, an 8th grade student at Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School, 5235 S. Cornell Ave., has qualified to compete in the state-level competition of the National Geographic Spelling Bee and will be competing at the Illinois State Spelling Bee on Friday, April 6.
Students grades 4-8 will compete in the Illinois State Spelling Bee, which will take place at Illinois State University Braden Auditorium, 200 N. University St., for the chance to participate in the National Championship at the National Geographic Society Headquarters in Washington D.C. in May and win all series of prizes including college scholarships.
“The most exciting part of the school bee was being tested on what I love and the excitement that came when I realized I knew the answers to the questions,” said Faier, who won first-place at the school-wide National Geographic Spelling Bee in January.
After learning that he had passed the online qualifying test to compete at the state-level competition, Faier added that he was “excited to participate” and share his love of geography with others who share the same interest.
In order to qualify for the State Spelling Bee, the winner of each school-level competition is required to take an online test. Only the top 100 scorers in each state or territory advance to the state level competition, according to the National Geographic Spelling Bee’s rules.
“During the Spelling Bee’s final rounds, I saw a group of Akiba students sitting together, answering difficult geography questions and showing support for each other,” said Head of School Eliezer Jones. “There was no sense that any child was there to ‘win’ against another. Although each child was on his or her own, there was a sense of support, care, and cooperation. There was a sense of team. There was a sense of Akiba.”
Faier advised students that might be interested in participating in future spelling bees “to keep a positive mindset” and to “be able to understand and know maps rather than study questions.”
Jones congratulated Faier for this accomplishment, “I look forward to another display of beautiful learning at the Spelling Bee.”
The National Geographic Spelling Bee is an annual competition organized by the National Geographic Society, designed to inspire and reward students’ curiosity about the world. The contest, that brings in thousands of students across the United States, is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark students interest, and increase public awareness of geography.