Walk through any mall in America and you’ll see plenty of teens and preteens wandering as if lost, their attention focused on their smartphone screens, exchanging messages using an ever-more simplified language of consonants and smiley faces.
That’s fine, to a point. Language is about communication, and different generations adapt it to their needs in their own way.
Still, it was refreshing to see the kids involved in Peabody Higgins Middle School’s fourth annual spelling bee and putting forth their best effort at the Northshore Mall last Wednesday night. (What better place than the mall for this event?)
About 200 people came out to watch the Peabody Education Foundation-sponsored spell-off. They saw an impressive array of well-prepared youngsters taking on words we journalists still need to look up in the dictionary or on the Web: condolences, quinine and peccadillo, to name a few.
AndeeMae Sims nailed “benefactor” and took home the night’s top prize, which included a $100 gift card and a spot in the regional spelling bee.
Congratulations to AndeeMae and the rest of the competitors for carrying on a tradition that helps adults remember the younger generation is more than a stream of abbreviations and emoticons.