Alliyah Deroux is tops in St Bess
Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth: The 56th staging of The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee parish finals got under way at the St Matthew's Anglican Church on Tuesday.
Sixty-one spellers - a record for St Elizabeth - lined up for spell master, Dr Clive Lai, as a few familiar faces and nervous newcomers vied for the title of parish champion.
By the end of the first round, 48 spellers were left standing. After seven rounds it was clear that the remaining 15 were in it for the long haul, but before long, the top 10 was announced.
It was clear who wanted it more when, after two rounds and myriad words under their belts, defending champion Alliyah Deroux from Glen Stuart Primary and teammate Shanquain Mills stood side by side to determine who would win.
Mills, who finished fourth last year, was a clear favourite to win, but Alliyah, though starting off unsure and a little timid, would not be defeated.
With excitement written all over her face and the championship trophy clinging to her chest, Alliyah, when asked about her win, admitted she wasn't as confident as last year, but was glad she won.
"It feels great. I didn't expect it, but, thanks to Jesus. With Him on my side He will always be there for me. "
She also thanked her coach whom she said has worked hard with her.
Maxine Barrett, coach of the champion boy and girl, said she was proud of their placements.
"It was nerve racking when I saw how Alliyah, was spelling, and then when it was just the two of them standing there, but I'm glad."
1. Alliyah Deroux, Glen Stuart Primary
2. Shanqain Mills, Glen Stuart Primary
3. Osanjo Brooks, Burnt Savanna Primary
4. Rickaylia Bennett, Burnt Savannah Primary
5. Shania Smith, Black River High
Shanqain Mills, Glen Stuart Primary
Alliyah Deroux, Glen Stuart Primary
- Kerry-Ann Hepburn