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TESOL Congratulates winner of 2010 Global SpellEvent Championship

On August 10, 2010, TESOL and Franklin Electronic Publishers, Inc. cohosted the 2nd Annual Global SpellEvent Championship in New York City. The culmination of 18 months of planning, the event saw student participants from 12 different countries competing in an English spelling competition for a grand prize of US$10,000.

Now in its second year, the Global SpellEvent started with regional events in 12 different countries. Working together with TESOL’s affiliates, TESOL and Franklin held regional events in April and May of 2010 in the following cities:

  • Ankara, Turkey (hosted by INGED)
  • Beijing, China
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina (hosted by Argentina TESOL)
  • Dakar, Senegal (hosted by ATES)
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (hosted by TESOL Arabia)
  • Mexico City, Mexico (hosted by Mexico TESOL)
  • Moscow, Russia (hosted by NATE Russia)
  • Munich, Germany
  • Paris, France (hosted by TESOL France)
  • Rome, Italy (hosted by TESOL Italy)
  • Santiago, Chile (hosted by TESOL Chile)
  • Seoul, South Korea (hosted by Korea TESOL)

Over 500 students, ages 15 and under, participated in the local events. To prepare for their local SpellEvents, teachers and students were provided with a list of practice words that included pronunciations, definitions, word origins and example sentences. The participating schools were also provided with participation kits that included both print and electronic dictionaries provided by Franklin. Affiliate leaders coordinated the regional events, with a member of the TESOL Board of Directors and a TESOL staff member serving as judges at the events. First and second place winners from each regional final SpellEvent competition were awarded an all expenses paid trip to the United States along with a parent or guardian, and the opportunity to win the Grand Prize US$10,000 scholarship at the Global SpellEvent Championship in New York City.

The Global SpellEvent Championship was held at the Jumeirah Essex House Hotel in New York City, and was hosted by TESOL member and New York Times 2009 ESOL Teacher of the Year Tamara Kirson. Serving as judges at the Championship were TESOL Past President Mark Algren and Executive Director Rosa Aronson.

Prior to the start of the competition the participants received welcome greetings from affiliate leaders Debbie West of TESOL France, Maria Trapero Davila of Mexico TESOL, and Mawa Samb of ATES, who were all on hand to watch the competition. The participants, who had gotten to know one another during several social events prior to the competition, demonstrated a true spirit of sportsmanship by cheering and encouraging each other throughout the competition. After 2 hours and 14 rounds, Hyun Soo Kim of South Korea was crowned the winner by correctly spelling the word judicial. Coming in second place was Eduardo Zueck Garcés of Mexico, with Mikhail Khodan  of Russia coming in third, and Ahmet Oðuz Atli of Turkey in fourth.

Plans are currently under way to expand the Global SpellEvent in 2011 to an additional three countries, bringing the total number of participating countries to 15. In addition to all the countries that participated this year, TESOL affiliates in Brazil, the Czech Republic, and Spain are all expected to host regional SpellEvent competitions in April and May of 2011.

The list of all the Global SpellEvent championship participants, along with photos from the championship and regional events, are available at

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