For a lot of smart kids, they provide confidence and validation that are hard to come by in the day-to-day environment of middle school and high school, where academic skills are seldom on top of the heap in terms of recognition.
That’s Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, in Slate Mag two years ago, talking about spelling bees and other contests and making top-drawer sense. He reflects problems that were front and center in Oak Park’s elementary & junior high District 97 back when our kids were in school, in the 80s and 90s. How to validate academic skills, yes.
He said it while reviewing the documentary “Spellbound,” about the National Spelling Bee, but linked it while discussing actress-producer Patricia Heaton’s new documentary, “The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania,” about a 50–year-old talent and beauty contest in SW Pa. — Patricia Heaton, of course, having been Raymond’s wife on TV in “Everybody Loves . . .”
The coal-queen film is also about people and coal mining, which “has shaped this area of the country, instilling a strength and pride in its citizens.”