Fri | Jul 20, 2018

Dad of a champion thanking the Lord

Published:Thursday | October 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Jessica McKnight recerives her trophy from spell master Jean-Paul Menou.

Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth:

1. Jessica McKnight, Hampton School

2. Danyea Meikle, Glen Stuart Primary

3. O'Brian Robinson, Glen Stuart Primary

4. Zoie Allwood, Brompton Primary

5. Ozazro Brooks, Burnt Savannah Primary

Top Boy: O'Brian Robinson, Glen Stuart Primary

Top Girl: Jessica McKnight, Hampton School

Winning word: P-A-G-I-N-A-T-E

Coach: Hanif Brown

Number of spellers: 32


This is Jessica's third time entering the competition. She first entered in 2014, representing Unity Primary in Westmoreland, and was parish champion. McKnight was awarded a place at Hampton School after being successful in her GSAT exams last year and lined up to spell in St Elizabeth. She, however, placed fourth and missed out on representing the parish.

She started to prepare in late July when she committed three hours per day to spelling. She admits that because she is enrolled in a boarding school, it was a little difficult getting help from her parents, though they tried. She got help from her friend, Xoie Howe.

The now 13-year-old is in grade eight and loves to listen to music in her spare time. Her favourite artiste is Daya, and her favourite song at the moment is Sit Still, Look Pretty by the artiste. She is a member of the Maths Club and the school choir, and she plays the violin.

Hanif Brown is the head coach for the Bee Spellers Programme. The 18-year-old is in his second year of the sixth-form programme at Ardenne High School. The Bee Spellers programme was established after the recent passing of the Reverend Glen Archer. Hanif was also coached by the late Archer and was parish champion for St Andrew in 2011.

John McKnight, father of Jessica: "We give thanks to the Lord for taking us through this journey. We didn't expect to go beyond the wire, but we had planned for it [the win]. All I can say is that we give thanks to God."

Jessica on winning: "I feel so much better than last year."

Hanif Brown on winning: "It's something I'm very proud about. The programme is very proud of Jessica. Last year, she wasn't successful, but this year she rebounded, and to God be the glory, and she is the winner, this year."