Wed | May 27, 2020

Spelling Bee: St Ann's Justin Ridgard passionate about spelling, athletics

Published:Thursday | September 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Champion speller Justin Ridgard.
Sashalee wilson, Lejari Brown and Shamar Wilson follow the along in the official Spelling Bee Book.
St Ann Parish Champion Justin Ridgard receives his championship trophy from Jean Dixon, a representative of the custos.



Top Bees


1. Justin Ridgard, Tomlinson Christian Academy

2. Keyshawn James, Golden Grove All-Age

3. Akili Hall, Mar-Jam Preparatory

4. Andrena Williams, Eccleston Primary

5. Vashti Tracey, Bamboo Primary

Top Boy: Justin Ridgard, Tomlinson Christian Academy

Top Girl: Akili Hall, Mar-Jam Preparatory

Winning word: A-R-C-H-I-P-E-L-A-G-O

Coach: Meleithia Lawrence

Number of spellers: 52

Justin about himself: The 11-year-old says early mornings and late nights are the reasons for his success. Justin isn't a novice to the world of spelling; he placed third last year when he represented Golden Grove All-Age School. The sixth-grader is passionate about spelling, but he enjoys track and field as well, because he is a good sprinter. He loves football, too, and says he is a great goalkeeper. In fact, he has a football match next week. Justin also has plans to join the debate team.

Justin about winning: His training started in July. He had to unlearn the method of spelling he was accustomed to, because the Tomlinson Christian Academy's programme was different. Summer preparations were a bit difficult, as he had summer lessons for the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT). His workload was massive, but he commended his parents for his success, too, for the assistance they gave him at home.

Coach on winning: "I always tell my students that winning is in their DNA. I was confident coming in," says coach Meleithia Lawrence.

William Ridgard (father): "I am totally elated! It was a bit nervy at the end, but I am proud of my son."

Shereen Ridgard (mother): "He likes a challenge. I kept reminding him that he is a winner, and that's what he did."

Fun fact: His ultimate hope is to attend Wolmer's Boys' School.

He smiles and says he's good at making noise, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is his favourite cartoon.