Eight-year-old knows how to spell success
- EFN Staff | May 11, 2017
For many eight-year olds, setting personal goals include things like how many play dates they can have or how much screen time they can negotiate with Mom and Dad. McKenna Fineblanket is no average eight-year-old, so it’s no surprize she doesn’t set average goals.
Fineblanket just proved that being a champion is a goal that can be attained. She is back with a big 3rd place overall win, having just competed in the National Spelling Bee Championships, representing Saskatchewan in Toronto, Ontario. To get there, she won first place in the Primary Category in the First Nation’s Provincial Spelling Bee competition that was held at the end of March in Saskatoon. More than 150 kids from across the province competed to win a chance to travel to the big T.O. and take part in the annual National Spelling Bee.
Fineblanket started studying her first 400 words last fall, which was how she won in Saskatoon. After the celebrations and fan fare it was right back to focusing on the next 400 words, this time with less than a month to prepare. “This experience has allowed McKenna to obtain pride and confidence in herself, and expand her vocabulary.” says her proud mom, Brittney Olsen. “I’ve always told her that she can do anything she sets her mind to and I believe that with the right guidance, love and support she has the capability to succeed in life.”
The competition at the National level was fierce, consisting of 5 rounds of spelling practiced words, and then an intense 13 round nail biter consisting of tie breaker words that none of the kids had heard before. The word that kept Fineblanket from the first-place win was “participation;" however, she shouldn’t be discouraged, as she is one of the first ever Indigenous participants to place in the top three in the Canadian Nationals.
Olsen is impressed, but not surprised, that her daughter was able to make it as far as she did. For her, it’s more than just a trophy.
“This sends a strong, positive message and breaks down stereotypes about First Nations kids and education in Canada.”
Fineblanket already has her sights set on getting back to Toronto next year to compete. “She is so determined to try again.” Next year she will be in the Junior Category, and there’s no doubt she will be a tough competitor with her eye on a win.