The Sean Lavery Faith Hall in Westmoreland was the final stop for The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee parish finals.
Forty-five students stood in queue facing assistant spellmistress Shernette Robinson and national spellmaster Dr Clive Lai on Friday.
In a parish that boasts some of the longest spelldowns of the Bee, the evening went by in a flash and the top five were decided in the first hour of the competition. The contenders went tit for tat as Lai went into the final words; this has been a staple of the top five for the past three years.
Lai was impressed with the way the spellers all knew the book and went into unseen words. Before long, the top two were announced.
Four winning words went by but no winner, as the final two, Maya Allen of Unity Prep and Abigail Williams of New Horizon Prep, went toe to toe. Maya was given the word C-A-N-T-A-N-K-E-R-O-U-S, which she misspelt and, as the audience held their breaths for the fifth time that evening, nine-year-old Abigail corrected that word and would move on to spell the championship word A-F-F-I-D-A-V-I-T.
With cheers and screams from the audience, both competitors were in tears; both were congratulated for what could be called one of the most intense matches of the Bee.
Coach of the winner, Adrian McDonald, praised Abigail as the quintessential student.
"What we saw was someone who deserves to win because she worked very hard," McDonald said.
"I feel very good. I've been practising for two months. I have worked hard and I knew I could win," said the parish champion, still wiping her face after her tearful victory celebration.
Though she did not win, Maya was still proud. "I'm very happy even though I wasn't first, but I thank God I came in second."
When asked if she would enter the Spelling Bee next year, she said, "(After GSAT) If I pass for Manning's, I'd like to enter again."
Abigail Williams - New Horizon Prep
Maya Allen - Unity Primary
Brandon Leslie - New Horizon Prep
Malik Blythe - Unity Primary
Rochelle Ferguson - Kiddies Prep