BiH State competition ‘Spelling Bee’ and finals of the project ‘One BiH, one book’ to be held this weekend

spelling beeThe U.S. Embassy is proud to announce the completion of two major youth outreach projects conducted throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina in spring of 2013 with final events which will take place in Sarajevo May 11 and 12, 2013.

The state-level final of the BiH English Language Spelling Bee will be held in Dom mladih in Sarajevo May 11 at 1500; the event is open to the public.  The project began in February with over 2,000 students at 82 schools competing in classroom-level contests.  Winners then faced each other in regional finals at eight American Corners.  The top two finishers from each regional final will compete for the title of the best BiH speller and prizes, including an Apple iPad.  This year’s Spelling Bee finalists come from Banja Luka, Bihać, Bosanski Petrovac, Doboj istok, Gradiška, Mostar, Sarajevo, Tuzla, Trebinje, Usora-Žabljak, and Zenica.  “Spelling Bees” test students’ skills in spelling words in English.  Because the English language does not follow consistent spelling rules – unlike B/C/S – some words can be famously difficult to spell.  Spelling contests are held in schools across the U.S. to help students learn the language, improve spelling and increase vocabulary, and also because they are fun for students and the audience.

The Embassy will also recognize the successful completion of “One Bosnia and Herzegovina, One Book,” an initiative which was modeled on U.S. “community read” projects.  First created by librarian Nancy Pearl in 1998, community read projects spur new conversations and create new friendships through community-wide discussions about a particular book.  One BiH, One Book was launched with schools and librarians in January, when Nancy Pearl visited Bosnia and Herzegovina for a series of talks and workshops.  To date, the U.S. Embassy has given out more than 2,000 copies of Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian to schools and NGOs across the country and more than seventy high schools and universities have organized discussion groups based on the book.  Through April and May, the Embassy worked with American Corners and participating schools on activities, including a webchat with author Sherman Alexie, film screenings, public talks, book discussions and competitions in poetry, essay and cartoons.  Over 300 submissions for these contests were received, and 10 finalists in each category were selected by a panel of preliminary judges.  One BiH, One Book contest finalists come from Hadzici, Prozor, Zavidovici, Sarajevo, Visoko, Maglaj, Konjic, Rudo, Kalesija, Novi Grad, Istocno Sarajevo, Sanski Most, and Tuzla. The top three winners in each category were selected by author Sherman Alexie (poetry), illustrator Ellen Forney (cartoons), and librarian Nancy Pearl (essays) and will be announced May 11.

Both programs culminate May 11-12 with a two-day festival for students that will include the Spelling Bee, a visit by cartoonist Ellen Forney, cultural performances, student presentations, and an award ceremony for contest winners, said the PR Office of the US Embassy to BiH.

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