Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Spelling Bee enters 60th year - Competition gets under way in St Thomas today

Published:Monday | September 24, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee celebrates 60 years, and to kick off this milestone, the competition starts today in St Thomas at the Morant Bay Parish Church Hall at noon.

The competitions, to be held in each parish, culminate on Friday, October 4, at the Pentecostal Tabernacle Church Hall, which will host the Kingston and St Andrew spell-downs.

This year is gearing up to be one of the biggest, and more than 450 students have registered to be part of the upcoming competition with hopes of becoming their respective parish champion, moving on to the national finals, and following in the footsteps of Dr Clive Lai (1968), Jody Ann Maxwell (1997), Gifton Wright (2012), and many others who have represented Jamaica internationally.

Nathaniel Stone of Glenmuir High School took the 2018 national title with Errol Campbell as coach. But Scripps National Spelling Bee was in for a surprise as third-placed Asana Thompson accompanied Stone under the new RSVBee invitational programme, which allows parents to apply on behalf of their children for consideration, marking the first time in more than a decade that Jamaica had multiple competitors.

The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee is open to all Jamaican students under the age of 14 who would not have passed grade eight by February 1, 2019, and who have not sat any external examinations, that would cause them to matriculate higher than said grade. The national finals take place in February of next year.