“Once you spell the word, there is no going back,” said Nancy Galm, English teacher at the Herndon Middle School on Locust Street. Galm was addressing a group of more than 20 students attending Herndon Middle School who had won or placed their way into the annual spelling bee competition. The competition was held on Jan. 8.
Each English class had a representative to compete in the bee. Spelling prowess was tested, and students were able to apply their knowledge of prefixes, suffixes, root words, and related words they have learned in all of their classes. Three teachers helped set up for event.
“Our goal is to increase literacy and to expand vocabulary collectively,” said Herndon Middle School Special Education Assistant Principal Matthew Lanoue-Chapman. “Ms. Galm has a love of language, it is definitely something she is passionate about,” said Lanoue-Chapman. In 2013, the annual spelling bee was canceled due to scheduling conflict.
“I think the kids who participate find it fun and enjoy competing at the class level,” said Dannet Parchment, a Herndon Middle School eighth grade English teacher.
The competition had filtered down to three young ladies, Trang Nguyen, Areebah Ahmed, and Shabnam Yusufzai. “I am very proud for all of you and you should be proud for yourself,” said Galm. Nguyen won first place with the spelling of the word “impropriety.” From there, Ahmed and Yusufzai competed spelling of words until Ahmed achieved second place and Yusufzai won third place.
“It is an honor to be able to participate in the spelling bee, winning was a surprise because I was competing against some good spellers,” said Nguyen. “I was happy I was able to experience this because this was my first time in a spelling bee.”
“I was up against many great spellers,” said Ahmed. “I really enjoy English, but I also enjoy math.” A seventh grade student, Ahmed’s English teacher is Kent Harris Jr. Both Nguyen and Yusufzai are in the eighth grade and have the same English teacher, Nancy Galm.
A resident of Fairfax, Galm has been a teacher for 32 years. “I am not going anywhere, I desperately love it here,” said Galm. Spelling bees are a chance for students to exhibit and display their scholastic and academic abilities. Galm looks forward to the April Herndon Middle School literary event, the Battle of the Books. “It is a cross between Jeopardy and It’s Academic,” said Galm.