Remarks by Counselor for Public Affairs Virginia Elliott – The Spelling Bee Semi-Finals

Counselor for Public Affairs Virginia Elliott

Remarks by U.S. Embassy Ghana

Counselor for Public Affairs Virginia Elliott

at The Spelling Bee Semi-Finals

Christ the King Auditorium, Accra

Saturday September 26, 2020, 3:00-4:30p.m.


Good afternoon!

I am delighted to be here on behalf of the U.S. Embassy in Ghana.

I want to thank to Mrs. Eugenia Tachie Menson, Country Director of the Young Educators Foundation, and her team, for promoting education through The Spelling Bee for well over a decade now.

It is a mark of pride for us that the Embassy has been a sponsor of The Spelling Bee in Ghana for 10 years.  This year, our support is even more important in light of the uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are indeed gratified to see that we, along with other partners, have been able to continue our sponsorship to the Young Educators Foundation so that The Spelling Bee in Ghana continues.  I want to commend the private sector sponsors of The Spelling Bee, for demonstrating a superior example of corporate responsibility and a commitment to invest right here at home in the education of Ghanaian youth.

The Spelling Bee encourages students to develop their reading and research skills to broaden their scope of knowledge.  It also builds the critical foundations of self-confidence so necessary for youth to thrive throughout their lifetime.  Educational development and literacy are U.S. government priorities in Ghana.  As Ambassador Sullivan has frequently remarked upon,

“A robust economy in Ghana depends on much more than its natural wealth – it also depends on human resources, which starts with education  .  The learning of basic skills like reading, writing, and math are a pre-condition to equitable economic growth, improving critical health indicators, gender equality, and socio-democratic progress.”

Many of you who follow The Spelling Bee know that Ambassador Sullivan is a big supporter of the program, and she was honored to crown last year’s winner Nadia Mashoud alongside Lady Julia in Kumasi.  I believe Nadia is with us here today and I would like to ask her to please stand so we can applaud her achievement – she is the first student from Northern Ghana to ever win Ghana’s national contest.  Bravo Nadia!

Traditionally, U.S. Embassy support for The Spelling Bee has allowed for the participation of students from under-served areas who would otherwise not be able to participate.  This year is no exception, as we chose to sponsor students from schools in Accra, Tema, Takoradi, Tamale, Kumasi and New Tafo Akyem in the Eastern Region.

The U.S Embassy’s partnership with The Spelling Bee has benefited over 8,000 students, allowing them to gain a better understanding of the English vocabulary as well as to boost their confidence in achieving their highest goals and dreams.

To the spellers I offer the following advice: Winning is great.  But not everyone will win the competition. Learning to compete, and how you conduct yourselves win or lose,  is a valuable lesson you will apply throughout your lives.

In closing, the U.S. Embassy will continue to encourage young people to commit to their education, to participate in programs like The Spelling Bee, to apply for U.S.-government exchange programs, and to eventually pursue opportunities to study in the United States.  No matter what the outcome is for you today during these semi-finals, we want you all to keep reaching and pushing the limits.  By being here today, you have already shown that you can go beyond the classroom to set your sights on new goals.

Congratulations as you are all winners to us – and best of luck spellers!