Women Leader’s Responses to COVID-19 And Petition to Give Spellers a Chance After Scripps National Spelling Bee Is Cancelled

Female Leaders’ Responses to COVID-19

By Riti Singh

Women around the world are displaying true leadership through this pandemic. Iceland, Taiwan, Germany, New Zealand, Finland, and the U.K. all have amazing women leaders who are leading their people to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany spurred her country into action immediately. She recognized the threat of the virus from the get-go, “It’s serious,” she said, “take it seriously.” Because of her early call to action, testing in Germany was ready and already happening once the virus had arrived. Now, Germany’s numbers are significantly lower than that of its European neighbors

One of the first responses was that of Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan. All the way back in January, she introduced 124 measures to block the spread of the virus, not even having to enact the lockdowns present in other countries. So far, Taiwan has only reported six deaths.

Sanna Marin, a young, millennial leader in Finland, spearheaded a social media campaign, utilizing influencers It took a millennial leader to spearhead using social media influencers as key agents in battling and raising awareness about the coronavirus crisis.

Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, took it into her own hands to make sure that children were educated and informed about what was happening, using television to do so. She dedicated a whole press conference, no adults allowed, responding to kids’ questions, explaining that it was okay to be frightened. The concern and empathy she showed, in addition to the care and thought she put out to connect to the country’s children, reveals more than words can tell.

With all of the negativity going around. All of the finger-pointing, demonizing, and lame excuses with lack of action have led to an atmosphere of hopelessness and anxiety. However, these women’s leadership styles are showing an important shift, something beneficial to all of us. We should not push these women leaders and future ones to fit the mold of the male political leader we have today, rather embrace their unique and dynamic approaches in order to guarantee a brighter future.





After Scripps National Spelling Bee Cancelled – Movement Started to Give 8th Graders a Chance

By Meghana Nakkanti  

The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been canceled for the year 2020 “due to the ongoing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus.” The beloved event has been held every year except for the duration of World War 2. Scripps stated that the bee will still be held next year, June 1-3, in National Harbor, Maryland.

The cancellation is a major hit to the countless spellers across the nation who had spent thousands of hours studying. While many spellers can still participate in 2021, current 8th graders are ineligible next year. The National Spelling Bee is only for elementary and middle school students, meaning that 8th graders lost their final year of eligibility.

This led to former speller Sylvie Lamontagne to start a petition on change.org that garnered over 2,000 signatures in a matter of days. The petition was designed to extend eligibility for eighth-graders for one year. She said her motivation arose from the fact that “spellers sacrifice everything for their dreams. A normal childhood, a social life, [and] extracurricular activities.”  She says, “Having their last shot cut off in eighth grade isn’t just devastating, it’s unjust.”

Many spellers agree with Lamontagne. The comments under the petition all echo the same statement: that eighth-graders deserve another chance. Sanjana Kota, a speller from Texas who is also an eighth-grader says that she “studied as hard as [she] could, sacrificing anything and everything, and as the result of all [her] hard work [she] won the Dallas Regional Spelling Bee.” But now, she is unable to participate in the national bee due to the cancellation. Many others feel the same way, saying that their hard work will be thrown away if Scripps doesn’t change their mind.

Scripps said that they have considered several ways to hold the national finals in an online environment. There was no “clear path for a virtual event,” the spelling competition said. The organizers stated that “trying to replace [the] experience with a stay-at-home version would pale in comparison.”

However, many spellers remain optimistic. To them, spelling is more than just an educational endeavor, it’s a chance to follow their dreams. They have given up so much for the National Bee, and say that the bee “has taught [them] perseverance, discipline, and diligence. We used this opportunity to create friendships, and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Lamontagne says that “Scripps could work out a way to do something for eighth-graders if they really wanted to,” and that she, and other spellers, aren’t giving up anytime soon.

The petition can be viewed here: change.org/spellingbee2020

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