Nickolai Roberts cops Portland
Kerry-Ann Hepburn, Children's Own Coordinator
Port Antonio, Portland: After a tough morning of going up against 22 students from all over the parish of Portland, Nickolai Roberts of Port Antonio Primary and Kimberlee Miller of Buff Bay Primary stood side by side before spell mistress Marlene Stephenson Dalley, at Hotel Tim Bamboo's Conference Hall, to battle for a chance to raise The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee trophy and to hold the title of parish champion.
Rounds of spelling and a tense but excited audience saw two championship words and two misspells.
Kimberlee put up quite a fight, but she was bested by Nickolai as he came away parish champion with the word D-O-M-E-S-T-I-C-A-T-E.
Champion girl Kimberlee should be applauded as this is her first time in the competition. Her coach, Roxan Bryan, stated that they had been practising since July. "We've been practising all through summer."
Parish champion and champion boy Nickolai expressed joy over his win. "I am glad for this victory," he said. "My mom drilled me in the book and also my coach, who did a great job with me."
"I am very happy! I know his coach worked hard with him, and I want to say a big thank you to her," said his mother, Andrea Roberts, as she beamed with pride.
This is Nickolai's third year in the competition. He placed fourth last year, and his coach Novelette Graham, is happy about the placement this year, "Words can't express how I feel. I'm very, very happy! We've been training for such a long time and the hard work has finally paid off."
His coach contends that Nickolai is a good student and is very hard working. She said that longer hours and an established team were to be commended for the results.
The bright 10-year-old, who is an avid reader and a lover of football, promises a change in his preparation for nationals. "There will be no playing. I will be studying longer and harder."
Roberts will compete in the national finals in February of next year.
Best of the BEE
1. Nickolai Roberts, Port Antonio Primary
2. Kimberlee Miller, Buff Bay Primary
3. Jaheem Jackson, Buff Bay Primary
4. Andae - Andyliesha Ricketts, Port Antonio High
5. Dejole Harris, Portland Prep
Top Boy: Nickolai Roberts, Port Antonio Primary
Top Girl: Kimberlee Miler, Buff Bay Primary