Thu | Oct 1, 2020

Spelling Bee called off for this season

Published:Wednesday | September 16, 2020 | 12:10 AM

Delays to the resumption of in-person classes have caused the cancellation of the 2020-2021 season of the annual Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee contest.

The Gleaner Company (Media) Limited (GCML), which stages the islandwide tournament, said on Monday that social-distancing stipulations and multiple other adjustments have affected the education sector. COVID-19-related financial challenges have also had an impact.

“We know many schools, teachers, and even parents will be disappointed. However, the safety and well-being of our nation’s children are of utmost importance to us, and we trust that we will have their support in this decision,” said Terry-Anne Wilson, sponsorships and corporate affairs manager at The Gleaner.

The multimedia company promised excitement in the roll-out of an expanded and more dynamic Spelling Bee programme for the 2021-2022 season.

While print distribution was halted in March when the first coronavirus case emerged in Jamaica, GCML facilitated e-paper access to the Children’s Own.

The company intends to restart distribution of Children’s Own in the new school term and is also fine-tuning plans for the release of a Spelling Bee app.

“The public can also look forward to The Gleaner’s continued support of education and youth development initiatives as we continue to put our nation’s children first and as we work with our various stakeholders throughout the year,” said Wilson.

First staged in 1959, the Spelling Bee contest is the longest-running educational programme in Jamaica, annually drawing hundreds of competitors from scores of schools across the island.

The overall objective of The Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee Competition is to help students improve their spelling, widen their vocabulary, and develop English usage that will help them throughout their lives.