Eleven students have advanced to the finals of the 29th Annual Rotaract Spelling Bee challenge, following the preliminary and semi-final rounds of the competition held last Saturday at the Deluxe Cinema in Grenville, St. Andrew.
The top students who advanced are Angel Augustine of Beacon Junior School, Wynnade Garraway of Beaulieu New Testament, Tyler Telesford of Constantine Methodist, Mikayla McNeil of Hillsborough Government, Zafirah Bain of Grace Lutheran School, and Kayla Mitchell of Grenada Junior Academy.
The list is completed by Thierry Bethel of Petite Martinique R.C., Berniah Forrester of St. John’s Anglican School, Geisel Joseph of St. Louis’ Girls R.C., Raldimir Adams of St. Matthew R.C and Dennison Augustine of the Uganda Martyrs School.
A total of 33 proficient students from 33 primary schools throughout the island took part in the Rotaract Spelling Bee challenge, which is only open to Grade Five students.
However, the competition only saw the participation of 32 students, as one school was disqualified due to tardiness in getting to the venue of the competition for the 9.00 a.m. start.
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper, Rotaract’s Public Relations Officer, Zoe Hagley said the school, which she did not identify by name “was late, therefore, (it) had to be disqualified.”
“We have strict rules as it pertains to time,” she added.
The Rotaract Spelling Bee competition provides students locally as well as regionally with the opportunity to enhance their literary skills and develop healthy competitive skills.
The participants were faced with more than 20 complex words from various categories including festivals, anniversaries, professions and personalities among others.
This year the Club took the decision to change the format of the competition to “on-the-spot” elimination, in keeping with international standards.
Prior to 2016, the Spelling Bee competition was held over a period of almost two months, where preliminaries would be held in different parishes, including Carriacou, and the spellers were given multiple chances to spell a word.
Commenting on the decision to change the format of the competition, Hagley explained that, “when we did further research into Spelling Bees done regional and internationally, we realised that we were really odd and it is not done like that in most places”.
“It is done where the (speller goes up to the microphone, spell the (given) word and (if the speller does not spell the word correct), after a certain amount of tries (that competitor is) eliminated”, she said.
“And we want to make sure that the student who wins this competition, if they wanted to go into a regional or international Spelling Bee, that they are equipped to do so. We don’t want to baby them,” she added.
During the preliminary round, the competitors were allowed two incorrectly spelled words, while those advancing to the semifinal round were afforded one.
“We have a judge who is responsible for really taking charge… if we realise that they (the contestants) are spelling a completely different word (from the given word) and (or) they didn’t hear correctly, in that case we would give them another chance, because it would not be fair to the student(s),” she remarked.
The club also undertook another first by funding the travel and accommodation for two students from the Sister Isles for the preliminaries and semi-finals.
Speaking on this, the club’s President, Diyanna Gulston said, “Though the structure of the competition has changed, we couldn’t exempt the students from Carriacou and Petite Martinique. This is the first time we’ve made arrangements for the students to travel to Grenada for the preliminaries and semi-finals. With the generous assistance of the Osprey Lines and Deyna City Inn, we were able to ensure they were present for the competition, and both students will be participating in the finals!”
The final round of competition is carded for 9:00 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) at the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) in St. George’s.
The winning student of the competition, will receive $1,000.00 in an education savings plan compliments Sagicor Life Inc., an Alcatel Tablet and three months free broadband service from LIME, $150.00 in stationery items from Bryden and Minors Ltd. and a first place trophy compliments Geo. F. Huggins & Co. G’da Ltd.
The winning school will also receive $1,000.00 towards a project of its choice.