Bee-autiful performance; Eight-year-old wins provincial spelling title

Published: June 25, 2007 | 6386th good news item since 2003

“M-I-S-C-E-L-L-A-N-E-O-U-S.” With those 13 letters, David Chan won the 20th annual Ontario Spelling Bee Championship. The Grade 3 student from St. Martha Catholic School was the Kingston representative in the primary category, for kids aged six to eight. On June 15, he competed against about 40 students from around Ontario and walked away with a trophy, $1,500 and a computer, as well as several other prizes.

“I’m going to save it in the bank,” he said of his cash prize.

Of the barrage of words he faced, Chan said “rapacious” was the most difficult.

“It means cruel and mean,” he said.

Chan, who turned nine just days after the competition, said he uses lots of spelling books and the spelling bee manual to study.

“I study the words and every so often my mom quizzes me,” he said.

“My dad helps by keeping my little brother away.”

Chan got his spelling start in Grade 1, when he placed third in the Kingston spelling bee.

“My mom was taking me to school and she noticed a sign [about a spelling bee] and she asked me if I wanted to and I’ve been doing it since then,” he said.

While he’d like to continue participating in spelling bees, he said, he wants to be a scientist when he grows up.

David’s father, Francois Chan, is the president of the Kingston chapter of the Spelling Bee of Canada.

“This year we had about 50 students registered in the Kingston bee,” he said. Luc Farant and Jesse Maracle were the other Kingston students who went to the provincial bee in Toronto.

“They did OK,” Chan said. “Only the best go. It’s a tough competition.”

The Empire Life Insurance Company has received the 2007 National Corporate Award for Best Practices in Learning and Development from LOMA Canada.

Empire Life, which employs 700 people across Canada, won in the large company category for its corporate orientation program for new employees.

The 12-month program includes presentations, workshops, training programs and followup to ensure employees receive and retain key business and company information, says a release from Empire Life.

Timo Hytonen, the company’s vice-president of human resources and community relations, said the program makes new employees feel welcome, encourages life-long learning and creates a foundation for them to build long, rewarding careers with Empire Life.

To show the effectiveness of the program, Hytonen cited results from the company’s most recent employee engagement survey, which showed 96 per cent of new employees said they had improved skills and capabilities in the past year and 87 per cent said they clearly understood what the company expected of them and what they could expect in return.

Leanne Butcher, Norma Hurley and Peggy Carney have been recognized for their work with the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board.

Butcher, an academic assistant at the board’s office, won the Katherine Award for her charitable efforts in hosting a young girl from Chernobyl and travelling to Guatemala on missions trips.

Hurley, school council secretary at St. Joseph Catholic school, was named adult volunteer of the year for her work preparing meals, supervising excursions and volunteering in the classroom.

Carney, the board’s religious education special assignment teacher, won the Contribution to Catholic Education award for her involvement in such projects as the bereavement response protocol, trauma debriefing, adult faith formation projects and Catholic Education week.

Former Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute student Victoria Lee was awarded the University Medal in Mechanical Engineering and the Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation of Education Academic Achievement Award at Queen’s University.

Lee achieved the highest first-class average in all her courses in the third and fourth years of her degree. She graduated from the faculty of applied science on May 25.

Three exceptional volunteers were recently honoured by the United Way. Charlotte Rosenbaum received the Community Leadership Award for the leadership and vision she has demonstrated as chair of the United Way’s Success By 6 program’s evaluation and monitoring committee.

Veteran board member Stephen Roughton won the chair’s Award of Excellence for his role in making the United Way a transparent and accountable organization.

Former United Way chairman Jack Chiang, winner of the Community Building Award, was recognized for his longtime role in the United Way cabinet and for his support of charities and volunteerism in Kingston. Chiang recently left the Whig-Standard.

The awards were presented at the United Way’s annual general meeting at the Confederation Place Hotel. This is the second year the United Way has honoured volunteers with awards.

After Tia Bankosky’s poster celebrating public works in Kingston swept judges off their feet, she chose to do a bit more sweeping. Bankosky, a Grade 2 student at Bayridge Public School, won a poster contest held by the city for designing a poster that represented the phrase “Public works. The heart of every community.” In addition to receiving a pizza party for her whole class, Bankosky got to choose a city vehicle to come visit the school. Last Wednesday, her vehicle of choice – a street sweeper – stopped by Bayridge.

Did your better half bowl a perfect game or shoot a hole-in-one? Did the kid sister win a hopscotch tournament or a spelling bee?

Do you know someone in your community who has been recognized for an achievement or an act of philanthropy?

Send the Whig a short e-mail with the details. Spell names correctly and include a telephone number we can call for more information if needed. Please do not send long lists.

Published in Kids & Teens
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