America’s melting pot

NATASHA UFEMA

Mifflintown

Sunday evening while flipping channels, I stumbled upon an airing of the Central Pennsylvania Spelling Bee sponsored by WITF.

Beginning last fall, 197 students in grades five through eight who hailed from 66 schools were whittled down to a final 34. And on Feb. 24, the same 34 competed on television for the ultimate title of Queen Bee or King Bee. Not only was I captivated by these kids’ courage, intelligence, and good manners, what struck me most was the way in which they represented – in miniature – the melting pot that is America.

There were white kids and brown kids and black kids; a spunky Muslim girl who covered her head; another girl who proudly displayed blue highlights in her hair.

Surnames included O’Brien, Singh, Gupta, Sai, and Fisher.

They wanted to grow up to be astronauts and firefighters and writers and aeronautic engineers.

And for the first time in a long time, I felt confident in handing the future over to them.

In the meantime, they have a lot to teach us.

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