By Shernett Robinson, Features Co-ordinator
NATOYA DAVIDSON and Shericka Carby of St. Thomas and Portland, respectively, walked away champions in the 44th renewal of the Gleaner's Children's Own-sponsored Spelling Bee competition, yesterday.
Fifty-six spellers, representing 29 schools from both parishes turned up to spell off for the coveted parish champion titles and earn the right to represent their parishes at the national finals in February 2003. A happy carefree group of spellers converged on the Morant Bay Anglican Church Hall in the St. Thomas capital. The gentle breeze waltzing in from the sea complemented the mood of the spellers, their teachers, fellow classmates and curious onlookers who came to see the spellers show off their ability.
Though many of the boys were early casualties, three remained in the top 12 and were as determined as their female counterparts to take home the prize. The girls, however, proved too much, and champion boy, Newton Gordon, of Aelous Valley All-Age, had to settle for third position. Eleven-year-old Natoya of Duckenfield Pri-mary was determined to keep the Cup at her school and she did. Dayna Blake of Wilming-ton Primary settled for the second spot, with Shanere Reid of St. Thomas kinder-prep and Coleen Patterson of Middleton Primary settled for fourth and fifth places, respectively.
Custos of the parish, Leonard Saunders, presented the parish champion and her beaming teacher, Joan Welsh, with the coveted prizes.
It was again girl-power in the parish of Portland. The spellers, who spelt for over two hours under intense heat and humid conditions were no easy walk-over and were all determined to win. There was no easing up on each other and they questioned spelling mistress Ivin Logan. Though the boys did not shine, champion Jahnoy Franklin of Norwich Primary handled himself commendably, and managed to cop the fifth position. Shaze-ann Hall of Happy Grove High; Roshana Murray, Buff Bay SDA Academy; and Kerry-Ann Walker of Boston Primary completed the top five spots.
Custos Roy Thompson made the presentation to the 11-year-old Bradford prep student who was keeping the Cup at the school. Sponsors of the competition are Bigga Soft Drinks, Colgate-Palmo-live Limited, Kraft Foods, National Commercial Bank, Jamaica National Building Society, Victoria Mutual Buil-ding Society and Sangster's Bookstores Limited.
The competition moves today to the parishes of St. Mary and St. Ann.