Spelling Bee 15th Anniversary – Remarks by Acting Deputy Head of Mission Virginia Elliott
Acting Deputy Chef de Mission Virginia Elliott at The Spelling Bee 15th Anniversary
Remarks by Acting Deputy Head of Mission Virginia Elliott
15th anniversary of the spelling contest
MultiChoice Ghana (Abelenkpe)
Thursday 23 September 2021, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
I am delighted to be here to celebrate Spelling Bee’s 15th anniversary in Ghana! The United States Embassy is a long-time proud supporter of the Spelling Bee. I know Ambassador Sullivan wishes she could be here because she considers herself one of the Bee’s biggest fans, especially as a former teacher. She asked me to share that some of her fondest memories came from interactions she had with spellings. Like attending the Spelling Bee final in Kumasi in 2019 and crowning the first Spelling Bee winner from northern Ghana, Nadia Chelpang Mashoud. In fact, she was recently in Tamale and visited her old school, Alhassan Gbanzaba Memorial School. Earlier this year, she invited 2021 winner Naa Koshie Manyo-Plange and finalists to her residence to congratulate them – and their parents – in person, and to hear them talk about their trips with the Spelling Bee. I had the privilege of attending as well and we both couldn’t stop saying how impressed we were with their resilience, confidence and vocabulary! I’m happy to say that I also saw spellings in action, in September 2020 when I attended the semi-finals with full COVID mitigation protocols in place – as they are today. I know I felt nervous just watching the audience, and I was so impressed with the poise everyone showed. These are just a few of our memories of the Spelling Bee and we know there are so many more wonderful stories and experiences to share from its fifteen year history in Ghana.
Education and literacy are priorities of the US government in Ghana. We know that literacy and education pave the way for the future for young people – opening the doors to individual professional and personal development and, ultimately, to economic development for Ghana as a whole.
Our support for The Spelling Bee, through the Young Educator’s Foundation, is just one example of the US government’s contributions to the development of literacy in Ghana. The US government, through the US Agency for International Development, is supporting the Ghanaian Department of Education and the Ghana Education Service to improve learning outcomes for elementary school students. Among its many accomplishments, USAID has deployed a phonetic approach to reading in Ghana’s 11 local languages that has reached over 700,000 K-3 students in Ghana’s 16 regions; In collaboration with the Ghana Education Service, USAID has distributed more than 3 million teaching and learning materials for students, educators and administrators. And, when children were out of school due to the pandemic, USAID partnered with the government of Ghana to launch a national radio program in English and 11 local languages that kept children learning. . The radio program reached children across Ghana and mitigated the loss of learning, especially in reading skills, during this time. Together with Ghanaian partners, we recently celebrated International Literacy Day, highlighting 60 years of USAID collaboration with Ghana to collaborate in education, improve school management and performance, and enhance quality. education.
Over the years, the U.S. Embassy’s partnership with The Spelling Bee has benefited more than 10,000 Ghanaian students. In particular, support from the United States has extended the reach of the Young Educators Foundation to students in rural communities in the North and Volta regions, providing opportunities for underserved students. I saw with my own eyes how The Spelling Bee helped students gain a better understanding of English vocabulary and boost their confidence to achieve their highest goals and dreams. And that’s what The Spelling Bee’s goal and our goal really is: to open doors through literacy and education.
Congratulations to The Spelling Bee. I wish you another 15 years of success, inspiration and life changing through education.