Accolades have been showered on the 2013 Courts OECS Reading Champion, Dean Bedeau during a ceremony that was organised by the Ministry of Education last week Thursday.
Bedeau who earned the right to represent Grenada at the regional leg of the competition late October after defeating his local counterparts earlier in that month was presented with a number of gifts and a certificate.
He also had a steel band rendition as a tribute to him and song sung to him during the ceremony that took place at the Ministry of Education Conference Room at the Botanical Gardens in St. George’s.
Apart from a certificate, Bedeau received gifts from the Grenada Reading Association Pearson’s, and District 7, which comprises St. Mark’s and St. John’s, and also receive some books.
The nine-year old student from Bonaire Government School in St. Mark’s showed his strength in being able to read by presenting the two pieces he did in St. Lucia at the OECS final.
Literacy Teacher at Bonaire Government School, Theresa Ganpot disclosed the strategy that was used in preparing the first Grenadian and OECS Male Winner for both competitions.
Ganpot said that Bedeau who enjoys reading participated in the Grade 3 Boys Reading Competition in 2011 at the school and came first.
In 2012, he also participated in the Bonaire Government School Reading Competition, which was held to select a student to participate in the local Courts Reading Competition that year, but placed second.
With determination, Bedeau participated in the 2013 competition and earned the right to represent his school and moved on to represent Bonaire Government in the District 7 competition.
Ganpot spoke of Bedeau as one who always read newspapers to his parents who were present at the ceremony, and with encouragement from them, he began the practice of reading on a daily basis.
According to the Literacy Teacher, it was not difficult to work with the Grade 5 student as his level of motivation, confidence and willingness to learn were so high that the school population was motivated to work with him.
“Dean’s success at the Courts OECS Reading Competition came about as a result of dedication, consistency and determination to succeed,” Ganpot said.
Chief Judge at the National level, Allana Charles disclosed that Bedeau’s reading ability can best be described as outstanding and that during his presentation at the competition, she marveled at the way he used his word-attack skills to decode unfamiliar words.
She spoke of him being in a league all by himself in the competition that featured six other students.
“Indeed, he was the best choice,” she quipped.
Charles turned to the students and informed him that he is now a role model to everyone who knows or heard the name “Dean Bedeau.”
Education Minister Anthony Boatswain who described Bedeau as a local hero, beacon and a shining light to all young men and women, commended him and his parents for his overall deportment and educational success.
Minister Boatswain said the youngster has shattered the myth that in order for someone to do well he has to come from a school in the city.
He noted that St. Mark’s is known as the poorest Parish in the country, but the OECS Reading Champion has shown that the Parish is rich in talent.
Chief Education Officer (CEO), Andrea Phillip admonished Bedeau to use his success in literacy as a ladder to achieve greater success in all areas of his educational experiences.
Principal of Bonaire Government School, Terry Francis described the occasion as “a proud moment” for boys to emulate Bedeau.
Francis recalled that for the past three years, a number of boys were selected to represent the school at the Grenada-Leg of the Courts Reading Competition.
He spoke of the need for parental involvement in the lives of their children.
District Education Officer, Lex McBain echoed the sentiments of the school principal by indicating that Bedeau is an example to the other boys in society.
McBain recognised that boys are marginalised and blamed parents primarily for not giving the encouragement to their male children.
He stressed that parents will allow the boys to stray while they keep a hawk eye on the girls in terms of their studies.
The Education Officer indicated that there are students who enter the secondary school system, but cannot read and write.
He suggested that reading should be looked at critically in order to ensure that when students leave primary schools they are able to read and write.
Courts Marketing Manager, Deleon Walters pointed out that Bedeau’s name now lives throughout the OECS.
Walters who followed Bedeau from the District stage of the competition and right up to the regional final said it was clear from the onset that he brought something different to the table.
Grenada will host the 2014 OECS Competition. This is the second time Grenada has won the regional competition.
Malika Bain who formerly attended St. Andrew’s Primary School in Grenville won the first competition that took place in Dominica in 2010.