Mon | Nov 11, 2019

Darian shines as family eyes dynasty of spelling stars

Published:Thursday | February 7, 2019 | 12:18 AM
Darian Douglas, winner of the 2019 Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee championship, high-fives coach Errol Campbell shortly after he spelt the winning word at TVJ studios on Wednesday.
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Darian Douglas was a portrait of cool confidence as he spelt his way to stardom, his victory at The Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee almost fated for the charismatic 11-year-old whose family sees him as the first in a line of champions.

“I just really like to spell, and I just wanted to make my family proud, and I wanted to make my coach proud and my school,” said Darian, a student of Glenmuir High School in Clarendon, after facing off with Rhonoya Anderson from Titchfield High in Portland for the title. His winning word was S -P-A-V-I-N-E-D.

“I knew the word! Sir taught me the word,” said Darian, glowing with pride. “I was actually surprised because I almost got it wrong. Before I started spelling, I was thinking and planning on winning this competition. I want to thank everyone who trained with me, my coach, and others past spellers who helped.”

Darian said he won’t be spellbound by the lights and cameras when he goes up against hundreds of competitors at the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in Washington, DC, in May.

“I’m preparing for the big stage. I’m ready and I know I’m going to do well,” said Darian.

Coach’s third champ

This is the third champion for coach Errol Campbell, who teaches at McAuley Primary School in Spanish Town, St Catherine. He is already predicting a good showing at Scripps.

“I believe he’s going to make it to the top,” Campbell told The Gleaner yesterday. “We are going to go all the way this year. He has an insatiable aptitude for words, and he’s very disciplined and meticulous. He’s somebody who is teachable, and that makes the difference.”

Darian’s biggest fans – mom Tameka, father Danian, and gushing sisters, Danielle, seven, and eight-year-old Tamoy – took a day off from work and school and journeyed to Kingston to be present in the studios at Television Jamaica on Lyndhurst Road for what they described as the start of a family Spelling Bee dynasty.

“We have two little ones coming up, and they are motivated by their big brother, and we are looking to be here again, and we are looking to win another time, “said Danian Douglas.

“It was a lot of work. I was the motivator and she (mother Tameka) was the one that did the spelling with him, but it was a lot of work for Darian. He had to invest a lot of time, late nights and early mornings. He had to manage his time between school and spelling, so it was a lot of work,” said the doting dad.

Darian’s mother, Tameka, added: “We didn’t really have to do the pep talk to say in case you don’t win because he was convinced that he was going to win, and we came prepared to celebrate with him.”

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com