Many schools participate in annual Spelling Bee
More than 50 students, representing 16 different primary schools took part in the first part of the 36th annual Spelling Bee competition at Red Bay Church of God (Holiness) on Tuesday 26 November, and six schools that participated in the Secondary School section, the following day.
The words the students had to spell started off hard, and just got harder. It’s difficult enough to stand in front of a crowd of people and answer questions if you are an adult, but it is much harder if you are a child, and every year the students amaze us by being able to spell words that we hardly even know the meaning of.
In the Juniors’ Section, after an incredibly intense battle, it was 9-year old Ikenna Eleweanya of Red Bay Primary School who finally took home the trophy – a big gold cup and several medals, a certificate and a gift of $CI300, after spelling the final word, strychnine. It followed months of very hard practice, and giving up lots of play-time; but it was surely worth it in the end. “I want to thank my parents because they helped me study for the words,” he said, “and I would also like to thank one of the teachers at my school who helped me with difficult words I did not understand at all.”
In the Secondary School section, the competition was just as intense, as more and more spelling champions walked away, leaving just a few to come back to the microphone again and again; but it was Sirichandana Batta from the Layman E. Scott Srn. High School who took home the trophy, after the winning word, “Bezique,” had been given for the two finalists to spell, and the tie-breaker word, “Vacuous.” In Second Place was Aleque-Benjamin Bennett from Clifton Hunter High School, who at just 11 years old, was one of the youngest contestants in the Secondary School Section.
In her opening remarks, Tammy Hopkins Acting Director Department of Education Services spoke about the ongoing partnership, between Education Services and the Royal Bank of Canada that has supported the Spelling Bee. “As we embark now it’s going to get tense,” she told all the participants, “But your self-confidence has been built the last couple of months. I want to congratulate you,” Ms Hopkins said.
Maylinda Gibson-Nixon, Branch Manager RBC Royal Bank said: “We salute each teacher, each coach each parent. Give your teachers your coaches and your parents a round of applause.” The annual Spelling Bee, she said, promoted “Personal discipline, resilience, good work and good study habits.”
The Secondary School’s Spelling Bee is supported by the Lions Club of Grand Cayman, and many Lions took up official positions, including Timekeeper, Cedela Gooding, and Gloria Bell, Elroy, Bryan and Nicholas Obie who were all judges. There were teams from Calvary Baptist Christian Academy, Clifton Hunter High School, John Gray High School, the Lighthouse School, and the Layman E. Scott Srn. High School.
Schools taking part in the Primary section included Calvary Baptist Christian Academy, Cayman International School, George Town Primary School, Hope Academy, Creek & Spot Bay Primary, Montessori By The Sea, East End Primary, Prospect, Edna Moyle, Red Bay, Savannah, John A. Cumber, Theolin McCoy, and West End Primary School, Triple C School, and St. Ignatius.