ST CATHERINE's Kymani Marsh
'I have been doing some additional work in preparation for the national finals. I was practising six days a week, but now I practise all the days.'
Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine:
KYMANI MARSH, the 2013 Gleaner Children's Own Spelling Bee champion for St Catherine, aspires to become a cardiologist because he is fascinated by the heart.
However, he knows he has several hurdles to cross before he focuses solely on his career goal.
The first one, the St Jago High School second-form student said, is to cop the National Spelling Bee title on February 6 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
"I have some challenges with the pronunciation of words, but I am ready and I'm a little nervous," he told The Gleaner.
Kymani, who listed his hobbies as spelling and writing words, was a member of the Spelling Bee programme at McAuley Primary School, guided by coach Errol Campbell, but never represented that institution in the competition.
However, while in first form, under Campbell's tutelage, he placed 16th in the parish. Realising his potential, Campbell encouraged him to enter again, and with only two weeks of training, he copped the parish title last September.
"I have been doing some additional work in preparation for the national finals. I was practising six days a week, but now I practise all the days," the 13-year-old said.
The dictionary, the unseen list, technology, and The Gleaner's editorial pages form part of a wide cross-section of information which his coach is using to get him ready for the competition.
"I am expecting him to finish in the top three, and he can win. He just needs to be consistent," Campbell told The Gleaner.
Travis Reid, former champion at McAuley Primary School, now a sixth-form student at Ardenne High School, and Kymani's former schoolmate, Javane Johnson, who represented St Catherine High and placed third last year, are also helping with his preparation.
Principal of St Jago High School Sandra Swyer-Watson said she was confident that her scholar would do his best.
"We are very proud of Kymani and all that he has achieved so far. He works very hard and goes nowhere without his Spelling Bee book. Every free minute he gets, he is in the book. Him striving towards excellence is typical of the St Jago student," she told The Gleaner.
Rosemarie Francis, one of his guardians, expects him to be among the top three at the end of the final.
"He doesn't like to lose. He has this thing where he will just get up and study and get it right, and another time, he won't do so well," Francis said.
Kymani's 'adopted mother', Evadney Martin, pastor, Valley Christian Ministry in St Mary, said: "I wish he would come out number one. That's my wish."