Sun | Dec 16, 2018

Spelling Bee parish finalists to get dictionaries

Published:Wednesday | November 21, 2018 | 12:00 AM
From left: Nordia Craig, Gleaner's business development and marketing manager; Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick, country director at the British Council; Suwannee Caine-Stewart, Gleaner's head of marketing and sponsorship; Nadene Newsome, education project manager at the British Council; and Kerry-Ann Hepburn, editor for The Gleaner's Children's Own. The occasion was the presentation of the Shorter Oxford dictionaries for the Spelling Bee parish finalists at the media house's North Street, Kingston office on Monday.

Each of The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee parish finalists will soon have access to new sets of The Shorter Oxford dictionaries, which will aid with preparing them for the competition finals.

According to Nordia Craig, business development and marketing manager at The Gleaner, the acquisition would not have been possible without the kind sponsorship and assistance of the British Council, which made the donation at the newspaper's offices in downtown Kingston on Monday.

"On behalf of the students across the parishes who will benefit, we are incredibly grateful for the donation of the dictionaries to The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee programme in this its 60th Anniversary year," said Craig.

"It's one of those core programmes that we use to ensure that we provide continuous and relevant support to education. We want to be able to help the students with preparations for the finals and providing the most current dictionaries is a critical element. It is very important to the programme that we be able to get this assistance to replenish the dictionary stock."

Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick, the British Council's Country Director, said she was equally grateful to make the donation. She said it was not only important that students keep abreast with technological advances, but also strike the balance with how to effectively use dictionaries and other books.

"We thought that it (Spelling Bee) was a very important aspect of our education system. There are not many of them that's still held around the world, and I think that it's wonderful that we still maintain that tradition here. Not all children have access to the Internet or Google, so it means that they are disadvantaged," said Jacobs-Bonnick.

"There are so many skills that come with being able to search alphabetically in a dictionary. There are critical-thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and not to mention that it helps with alphabetisation and learning the alphabet. It is quite important to have a balance between the two. It's not being anti-technology or pro-book, but it is understanding that both are necessary for our children to have a well-rounded education."