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