Isaac MacDonald out-spelled after fifth round in provincial spelling bee

John Brannen
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HALIFAX – Isaac MacDonald and his mom Maryanne sat down to dinner last Friday night in Halifax, the day before the Chronicle Herald Nova Scotia Spelling Bee

Isaac MacDonald of Pictou recently participated in the Chronicle Herald Nova Scotia Spelling Bee. The Grade 6 Dr. Thomas McCulloch School Student made it to the fifth round of the competition and said it was a rewarding, fun and challenging event. JOHN BRANNEN – THE NEWS

They got some advice from the people at their table.

“They told us, ‘This is a really great spelling bee,’” said Maryanne. “‘Have fun and just enjoy it.’”

It was sound advice from last year’s NS Spelling Bee champ Mollie Symons, with whom they happened to be sitting. And though the 11-year-old Grade 6 student from Dr. Thomas McCulloch School didn’t win the spelling bee, he was very happy with his performance.

“When the actual thing started I was nervous but after I did my first word, I felt a lot better,” said Isaac. “People clapped after you spelt a word, even when you spelt it wrong.”

He went up to the microphone four times and spelt words such as teriyaki and albatross flawlessly. The fifth time up on stage would be his last.

“They told me to spell the word boudoir,” said Isaac. “Unfortunately I got it confused with bureaucracy and that was that.”

For his mom, she was equally nervous while Isaac was on stage.

“It was nerve wracking,” she said. “Even though there were about two hundred people there, it was a really supportive atmosphere with lots of cheering and high-fiving.”

Still, of the 43 students from across the province, he made it into the respectable last half of participants. When he stepped off the stage, he was given a framed picture of himself spelling a word on stage.

“I feel I did well,” he said. “When I got to school on Monday everyone was saying congrats and congratulations to me.”

Maryanne was very pleased that her son, who had no previous spelling bee experience, enjoyed himself and did well.

“I was very happy with it because he didn’t go in with a need-to-win attitude,” she said.

“He thought he wasn’t very good at spelling but has walked away with a lot of pride.”

As to whether he’ll crack open the dictionary and start studying for next year’s competition, he’s not sure yet.

“I might do it again. It’s just that it’s a lot of studying.”

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

Organizations: Thomas McCulloch School

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Recent comments

  • Bev
    February 25, 2014 - 10:39

    Great job Isaac. For your first Spelling Bee you should be very proud of yourself--Pictou is :)

  • Spell Them
    February 25, 2014 - 06:12

    Check out for spelling bee wordlists with audio pronunciations