National Spelling Bee Teacher Feature - Candy Lopez
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Behind every great student is a great teacher. These teachers make learning fun by thinking outside the box and creating classroom experiences that resonate with their students. They serve many roles in their schools, as spelling coaches, school bee coordinators and judges; more often than not, they are motivators who encourage their students to be the best they can be. In the “Teacher Feature,” we celebrate these educators and their commitment to their students' education.
We have honored seven inspiring, impactful teachers on the Bee Blog since August, but this particular nomination is different from the rest: This week's featured teacher was nominated by her local area's sponsor, The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. Sandee Luster, the Moline, Illinois-based newspaper's spelling bee coordinator, nominated Ms. Candy Lopez from Rockridge Junior High School in Edington, Illinois, after working with her on the school's spelling bee program.
Ms. Lopez is the school coordinator for the Rockridge District Spelling Bee, but that isn't the only hat that she wears for her school district. Besides organizing the annual Veteran's Day celebration, she is particularly invested in her school's athletics department. She has served as the volleyball coach, athletic director and district bus driver. Her involvement in the school's athletics program means she has the opportunity to interact with students after classes have ended. More than anything, she says that she hopes to be a good role model to her students first, teaching them to be good citizens and learn life and success skills outside of the classroom and off the volleyball court.
Her dedication to the spelling bee no doubt stems from her main role at Rockridge Junior High as a Language Arts teacher for eighth grade students. Her classroom is always filled with new spelling and vocabulary words, and she incorporates new words into her students lives in a variety of ways. As the school's spelling bee coordinator, she looks for new ways test her students' spelling knowledge, and technology has come to her aid in a significant way. Using a computer program, Ms. Lopez is able to give her students pretests on the spelling content and play word games prior to taking their final tests. However, she also uses good old-fashioned methods for diving deeper into words, such as analyzing sentence context, learning word parts and analogies and focusing on dictionary as well as proofreading skills. Just as Ms. Lopez is able to balance academics and athletics, she helps her students manuever between technology and more timeless methods of learning.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee would like to thank Ms. Lopez for her dedication to academics and athletics and for her work to bridge the gap between the two by organizing the school spelling bee. Her varied interests allow her to touch the lives of a number of different students, and we know they appreciate and learn from her good example.