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Scripps to get double dose of Jamaica - Two locals to compete at Spelling Bee championships in US this month

Published:Monday | May 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Nathaniel Stone, the 2018 Gleaner Children's Own Spelling Bee champion, and Assana Thompson, third-place winner, shortly after they received their trophies at the TVJ studios earlier this year.

After placing third in the 2018 Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee Competition, Ardenne High School's Assana Thompson is now set to make history by joining first-place winner Nathaniel Stone, of Glenmuir High School at the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championships in the United States later this month.

This will mark the first time in more than a decade that Jamaica will have multiple competitors in the Scripps competition.

As winner of the local competition, Stone will go to the Scripps championships, but under the new RSVBee invitational programme, which allows parents to apply on behalf of their children for consideration, Thompson was chosen to join him in the competition.

According to her coach, Roger Allen, the experienced speller is in good shape and is readying herself to take on more than 500 competitors from May 29 to 31 at National Harbor in Maryland.

"Right now, she is like a graduate student at university who is supervised, but does research on her own. She has set targets for herself. She is a speller at a mature stage. We are now dealing with 300 spellers from the US and around the world, but she is preparing well," he said.

"They know the good standard of the local competition here, so it wasn't difficult by any stretch of the imagination for them consider her application. What they are looking to do is embrace more good spellers who fell by the wayside. They chose her for more than her history, but also for her spelling acumen," he added.

Thompson, a seasoned Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee competitor, has been to three local finals where she placed in the top three.




In a statement yesterday, Nordia Craig, The Gleaner's business development and marketing manager, said the company was pleased to know Jamaica would have two opportunities in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2018 as a result of the new Scripps RSVBee programme.

"This has allowed our national champion, Nathaniel Stone, and our third-place speller, Assana Thompson (as an independent applicant), to both be in the finals at the end of this month," Craig said.

"This will be an exciting period for Jamaica. As The Gleaner's Spelling Bee and its sponsors continue to focus on giving children throughout the length and breadth of Jamaica the chance to represent their country at the highest level, we are encouraged by any sustainable move to provide additional opportunities for our spellers."