Ailing Glen Archer proud of his 'dolly'
Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
Despite shedding tears of disappointment at missing The Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee Championship on Wednesday for the first time since 1986, Rev. Glen Archer was beaming with pride that his 'dolly', 13-year-old Sara-Beth McPherson, was crowned champion.
"Sara is a wonderful little girl and she is very intelligent. She is so humble and a beautiful little girl. I call her a dolly because of how she looks, so small with her two little long things [hair] at the side," he told The Gleaner, laughing with delight from his hospital bed, Thursday evening.
"I thank God for Sara and the hard work she has put in and God has rewarded her for her hard work. She also has very good parents, and having a good home life is very important."
Archer who is at the University Hospital of the West Indies, has seen improvement in his health.
The award-winning, internationally acclaimed spelling coach has been hospitalised since December 9 last year, due to chronic kidney failure.
He has been suffering from renal failure for the past five years, requiring dialysis two to three times per week.
Archer, who is expected to be discharged from the hospital in another two weeks, is in dire need of a kidney transplant.
Archer coached the Holy Childhood High student up to the parish finals in October last year when he became gravely ill.
McPherson is his 26th champion.
WATCH: Sara-beth McPherson is Spelling Bee champ
"I feel both exhilarated and humbled. Exhilarated because you keep winning because your programme works and it works well, and humbled because to win so many times and consistently and help children to achieve excellence is something that is always thrilling," he shared.
Archer also expressed great pride in 17-year-old Hanif Brown, who took over the coaching reigns during his illness.
"I feel so proud of Hanif. He is one of my better protégés. He stuck by me and helped, and while he is doing his CSEC [Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate] exams," said Archer.
The top spelling coach said he was looking forward to preparing McPherson for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., United States, scheduled for May.
In the meantime, the $10,000 per-plate fundraising dinner that was originally scheduled for this Friday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel has been postponed until March 1.
The organizers, 'Friends of Glen Archer' comprising family and friends, are hoping that Archer will be able to attend.
They want to raise US$25,000 to aid with Archer’s medical expenses, including a kidney transplant.
Archer, who has been coaching students for the Spelling Bee since 1986, was recently awarded The Gleaner Honour Award (Special Award) for outstanding service to education.
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