Friday, March 9, 2007

Whatever happened to the Spellbound kids?

I loved the movie Spellbound. What's not to love though? Its a movie that celebrates the geek, and we have all been the geek in one situation or other.

This movie was on the other night while I was at home looking after the fiance who had just had laser eye surgery. He is doing very well, thanks for asking. I almost fainted when they were describing the procedure to him, which didn't really help him relax at all funnily enough. I have no problem with medical stuff-I can watch medical shows, I used to be a cracker jack first aid attendant that had to deal with a range of marvellous injuries, but I think my imagination is too strong, so the description almost killed me. Sad. He looks quite dashing in his sunglasses, although he is going TOTALLY stir crazy and he is probably reading this right now, which he shouldn't be doing as the glare from the computer is bad for his eyes so STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW FIANCE OF MINE!! Alright, back to Spellbound...

Spelling Bees are big money. The Scripps National spelling bee is one of the most watched events on ESPN. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a Tony Award winning Broadway Musical that was written I am sure in response to the buzz that Spellbound got. Imagine my delight when I went to the website for the aforementioned musical and saw Jesse Tyler Ferguson as one of the spellers. Jesse who plays Ritchie Veltch, my FAVOURITE character on the Class. (Jesse is number 17 in the photo below)

And who can forget that smash hit Akeelah and the Bee (seriously...did anyone see that? I really should...).

But while the bees may be big money, what does it mean to the participants? Where do they go after their brush with stardom of spelling bees, or specifically, being in the documentary Spellbound?

So, I decided to check out three of my favourite spellers Harry, George and Ashley...

Harry Altman
I loved this kid. I mean LOOK AT HIM! Dorky jokes, random robot impressions. love him. Harry attended the Academy for Engineering and Design Technology in Hackensack, New Jersey. He enrolled in the University of Chicago in autumn of 2005 (gotta love the internet and wikipedia) and has participated in a variety of academic quiz competitions at the university level including the College Quiz Bowl and the National Academic Quiz Tournament. Once a geek always a geek I guess.

George Thampy
Ah George. Slight speech impediment, wearing a suit that made him look 90 and a homeschool religious fanatic. Magic. Trust in Jesus was George's motto. He won in 2000, attended Harvard with the intention of becoming a doctor and now works for the Scripps Spelling Bee. I guess spelling really is his life.

Ashley White
Ashley was the one I was rooting for because she came from "the wrong side of the tracks" and she had such an amazing outlook on life. Five years after participating in the bee she became a single mother who bounced between the homes of her relatives. This article profiles her story and the changes that have come from the community rallying around her to allow her to pursue the dreams that she had when she was in the bee. I hope she reaches them!


matty said...

Oh, I want that surgical procedure! ...and that lypo thing they can do!

just need to win a spelling bee. Sadly, I kan't spel.

I didn't see that other film, but heard it was a big ad for that coffee chain with the mermaid.

I LOVED that documentary, tho and really enjoyed finding out what became of the kids. Am bummed about the lovely young woman --- tho, if her child is loved the world will benefit. And, I too hope she reaches her goals.

Life is so hard (and unfair ) if you're born without much in the way of money. is like being trick'd up to fail I think. But, I know it can be beat! I beat it! ...but, I'm also a white male.


Great post! Thanks!

hot-lunch said...

i watched Akeelah. yep, it's everthing you imagined it would be.