Bring on the Bee

By Mary Thompson
This year the Kansas City Public Library has started on a new adventure. After several decades of coordinating the Jackson County Spelling Bee, the Independence Examiner newspaper has passed the torch on to us, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Schools signed up to participate through mid-December and students are busily pouring over lists and lists of spelling words in preparation for the big competition. In March 2012, over 80 spellers from across Jackson County will come together to compete for the honor and title of the Jackson County Spelling Bee Champion.

Although I myself am a horrible speller, I recognize that the spelling bee is a great opportunity for the youth of Kansas City to improve spelling skills and increase their vocabularies. Participating in the bee also provides valuable experience in developing poise, a necessary skill for success in public speaking, performing arts, and athletics.

I am also enjoying collaborating with the Mid-Continent Public Library on the spelling bee project. Mid-Continent will be hosting one of the two Division Bees on Saturday, March 10th at their North Independence Branch Library while Kansas City Public Library is hosting the other Division Bee at the Plaza Library.

The winners from these two events will advance to the Jackson County Championship Bee which will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2012. The winner of that event will go on to represent Jackson County in the Scripps National Spelling Bee , May 27-June 1, and have the chance to rank among the top spellers in our nation.

If you are interested helping out with the Bee, email me at

Mary Olive Thompson is the Outreach Manager at Kansas City Public Library. You can usually identify her by her ginger top and the colorful Chucks on her feet.