Kerry-Ann Hepburn, Children's Own Coordinator
Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth:
The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee 2012-2013 got off to a fine start at the St Michael's Anglican church hall yesterday.
The morning saw 52 spellers who came out to represent their schools from all across the parish.
It was all systems go and the 'Bees' were ready for the spell down. Lining up was Daniel Harrison from Munro College, who has competed in St Ann three times before. But not to be outdone, representatives from defending school Glen Stuart Primary were also in the running.
The second half of the spell down was where the action was and the numbers quickly dwindled to the top 10. Tensions were high and nerves ran amok as simple mistakes were made. It was evident who the favourites were to win and what looked like an obvious win for Harrison turned out to be a three-way battle with Glen Stuart Primary's Labria Parchment and Phillip Williams both involved.
The pint-size Labria put up a brave fight, but it was the shy 11- year-old, Phillip, who would be the champion speller for the parish of St Elizabeth, when Harrison failed to correctly spell O-S-C-I-L-L-A-T-E. There was an uproar in the audience when Williams correctly spelt the winning word, O-X-B-O-W. When asked how he felt, with quiet excitement he responded: "I feel very good."
Phillip said he owed his success to coach, teacher and "best supporter", Maxine Barrett. They have been preparing for a year and a half and she is, "... Overjoyed, happy, elated."
Barrett describes Phillip as shy and dedicated.
It would seem that Glen Stuart has the formula, for this is the school's 11th title and to commemorate the occasion, the old Spelling Bee Trophy for St Elizabeth will be retired at the school.
1. Phillip Williams - Glen Stuart Primary
2. Daniel Harrison - Munro College
3. Labria Parchment - Glen Stuart Primary
4. Marvin Boamah - Hopewell Prep
5. Shantale Graham - Burnt Savannah Primary