My daughter participated in this years spelling bee at N.Prov high this past Saturday.
It was a great experience for her as well as my wife and I. My daughter is
looking forward to returning next year.

I just have a few questions for you in regards to how the bee was run:

1)As an outsider for the first time to a state bee,I realized that there is
a "mix" of dictionary words as well as the 2009 Scripts book(1,150) words.
It seemed like the first couple of rounds appeared to come from the book
list-which I can see.. to get them "warmed" up for the later rounds.
However, when it got to the 4th round(I think), there was no doubt there was
a change in the list that went to the more difficult words. My daughter
received a word that was from the dictionary, which did get her out, but
then some other contestants after her received words that were from the word
book. As a parent, we all like to see our kids treated fairly. If there was
a step up in the level of words in THAT round, wouldn't you think that all
of the words in that round should have been all dictionary words? My wife
asked somebody after the bee that if it was possible for a contestant to
actually get all book words and not get one from the dictionary and she said
that I guess it was possible. I would think that it should be fair to all
the kids to have a level playing field so that all the kids get the same
degree of difficulty in EACH of the rounds.

2)There were a few instances during the bee where a contestant misspelled
the word after it was pronounced by Erica Ricci and then for whatever reason
the word was cancelled and they received a new word, thereby giving them a
"second" chance. I realize that RI does not do what the Washington bee
does,but you would think that if the word was homogeneous, there is not a
whole lot of pronunciations as to how that word is said, and if they
misspelled it, that should be it. At one point, one of the judges did tell Erica Ricci to
re-pronounce one word she mispronounced, why not have her do that with all them that she mispronounced . Shouldn't she have a pronunciation guide if she's the pronouncer?
It just seemed that some rec'd second chances. Nothing against Erica Ricci, but wouldn't you
think that there would be other more competent people(as yourself-or other people that are
Dr's) that could pronounce the words, thereby eliminating any doubt as to
how the word should be said.

3)Lastly,when it got down to the final 3 spellers, it seemed as if the 2nd
contestant(Eddy Lau from East Greenwich) got singled out. With only three
kids remaining,please explain how you can go from the following:

contestant 1-ramification
contestant 2-yiddishkeit
contestant3-potpourri

Again, as an outsider to the bee, a parent should NOT be able to spell any
words that are in these final rounds, unless they have advanced degrees in
English\language. The bee is serious business for some of these kids, it doesn't do much for their
psyche to know that much of it is 'chance', there's a 'chance' I may get a study word and
someone else may not.