Home Entertainment Grayslake speller makes it to Scripps National Spelling Bee finals

Grayslake speller makes it to Scripps National Spelling Bee finals

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Grayslake speller Sahasrad Sathish was among 13 finalists competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals Thursday.

Just minutes into the eighth round, Sahasrad, or “Speller No. 1,” was eliminated after he couldn’t spell “cypsela” correctly. He tied for 9th place out of 234 spellers.

Hearing head judge Mary Brooks ring the fateful bell signaling he had made a mistake was a huge disappointment for the 13-year-old avid reader. Brooks acknowledged it was Sahasrad’s final year of eligibility for competing at the Bee and offered some words of encouragement.

“I have a feeling you are just engineered for success all over the place. So go out and do great things and know how very, very proud we are of you,” she said.

After leaving the stage, Sahasrad spoke with Bee host LeVar Burton about his experience at the competition.

“It’s been really great,” Sahasrad said. “I’ve been introduced to a lot of new spellers and it’s been great socializing with them.”

Sahasrad’s parents were there to console him after the blow of the loss.

“We were expecting a lot. He was really upset,” mom Vidhya Ramachandran said Friday.


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

Still, it was a notable achievement for the eighth-grader at Lake Forest Country Day School, as no other Illinois speller made it to the finals.

In the previous seven rounds, Sahasrad correctly spelled giallolino, apiculture, paleiform, Robenhausian and Augean, and gave the correct meanings for the words kleptocrat and plebeian.

Sahasrad tied for 21st place in the semifinals of last year’s virtual Bee. This year was his first in-person National Bee held in Washington, D.C.

Voting access

The Illinois State Board of Elections has launched a remote accessible vote-by-mail system for the June 28 primary election to allow blind, deafblind, and other voters with disabilities to cast their ballots privately and independently.

Such voters securely can receive and mark their ballots electronically at home instead of having to travel to vote at polling places.

Blind and deafblind voters typically cannot read or mark paper ballots without having a sighted person assist them. The new system will allow such voters to use their own screen reader technology, which voices digital content or displays it on a Braille device, to mark their ballots.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

This system also will help voters who have manual disabilities that prevent them from marking paper ballots with writing utensils.

The state’s 108 local election authorities must provide voters with disabilities with an accessible vote-by-mail option starting with the November general election, per new state law.

The application period to vote-by-mail is now open. Voters who want to use the new system must contact their county clerk or other election authority.


Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin is offering special programs and a "Celebrating the Rainbow Photography and Art Exhibit" on the main library's second floor to "educate, inform and enlighten" patrons about Pride Month.


Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin is offering special programs and a “Celebrating the Rainbow Photography and Art Exhibit” on the main library’s second floor to “educate, inform and enlighten” patrons about Pride Month.
– Courtesy of Gail Borden Public Library



Celebrating Pride Month

Pride Month commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan.

Nationwide, parades, workshops, celebrations, concerts and rallies for civil rights and in support of the LGBTQIA community take place to raise awareness throughout June.

Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin is offering special programs and a “Celebrating the Rainbow Photography and Art Exhibit” on the main library’s second floor to “educate, inform and enlighten.”

“(It’s about) education and engagement, but it is also about celebrating each other,” spokeswoman Denise Raleigh said.

The work of four local artists — three from Elgin and one from South Elgin — are represented in the exhibit. For information, visit gailborden.info/pride.

In previous years, the library has had smaller pride displays, but the idea for this year’s exhibit came from a staff member and all the library departments got involved, Raleigh said.

A green screen area has been set up where people can have their picture taken with a Pride flag background and the images will be displayed on a monitor. Here are the library’s Pride Month educational programs geared toward adults:

•Rainbow 101: An LGBTQIA+ Intro — Learn about the LGBTQIA+ rainbow of gender expression, sexual orientation and pride flags at 2 p.m. June 12. To register, visit gailborden.info/register.

•Pride Movie Matinee — LGBTQIA+ genre film screening at 1:30 p.m. June 19 followed by a discussion. Register at gailborden.info/register.


Indian Trails Public Library digital and maker services librarian Heidi Estrada, left, has been named a 2022 Library Journal Mover and Shaker. Estrada and Sophie Kenney, right, are working together to develop the Reaching Across Illinois System (RAILS) BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) Library Workers group.


Indian Trails Public Library digital and maker services librarian Heidi Estrada, left, has been named a 2022 Library Journal Mover and Shaker. Estrada and Sophie Kenney, right, are working together to develop the Reaching Across Illinois System (RAILS) BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) Library Workers group.
– Courtesy of Indian Trails Public Library



Change agents

Wheeling-based Indian Trails Public Library’s digital and maker services librarian Heidi Estrada has been named a 2022 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.

Estrada is working as a co-leader with Sophie Kenney to develop the Reaching Across Illinois System (RAILS) BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) Library Workers group.

With more than 70 members, the group’s goal is to foster connection, share resources and experiences in a safe, welcome, and open space for BIPOC library workers. Kenney founded the group in late 2020.

Together, the duo is working to strengthen the community, support group members and offer professional development and networking. The group currently is developing a mentorship program and a legal/labor law/human resources webinar series. It recently presented at the Public Library Association conference.

Muslim scholarship

Every year, the Islamic Society of North America awards several need-based scholarships to students for their academic performance, community development work and other factors.

To be eligible, students must be: a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; enrolled in an accredited U.S. college/university; and Muslim students actively engaged in the community.

To apply for the academic year starting this fall, visit isna.awardspring.com.

Fighting censorship

The Chicago-based American Library Association and a coalition of more than 25 national groups are banding together to empower communities to fight censorship.

The association launched a Unite Against Book Bans campaign aimed at raising awareness about the recent rise in book challenges in public libraries and schools.

A majority of book bans target titles with racial and LGBTQ themes.

The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals in 2021. It’s the highest number of attempts to ban books since the ALA began tracking it 30 years ago.

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