The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee Championship for 2013 will be held on Wednesday, February 6, 2013, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, starting at 9 a.m. Below are features on two of the parish champions.
Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
MANCHESTER'S SPELLING Bee champion Ashley Ricketts of Knox Junior School is all pumped up and ready to go for the finals of The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee finals, which takes centre stage next month.
It has been a long and tedious road for Ashley. The journey began last school year when she won the school's internal spelling bee competition. She began her preparation from that time.
Ashley then followed the example set by her former schoolmate Tejaun Gibbison, the 2011/2012 parish champion when she was crowned the Manchester Spelling Bee champion last September.
This is an accomplishment she is very proud of. "Words cannot describe the feelings, the very quiet 11-year-old said. I am very happy about that, it has been a lot of hard work and it paid off."
Constance Malcolm, principal of Knox Junior School is on top of the world that another of her students has made it to the national finals in two consecutive years. Speaking on Ashley's chances in the finals she said, "I am expecting Ashley to do very well. She is quiet, but very determined to succeed. The Knox family will all be cheering for her."
GIVING HER BEST
She is confident of going all the way and bringing the coveted national spelling bee trophy back to Manchester. "I know it's a lot of responsibility, but I know I can do it, I am just going there to give of my best," Ashley said.
Ashley lives in Christiana, Manchester, with her mom Tracey Campbell, and her five-year-old sister Colleen Rickets. She is coached by Barrington Wilson, who also coached Tejaun who had placed ninth in the national finals last year.
Wilson was very optimistic of Ashley's chances in the national finals. "Well, I have been doing my best to prepare her; she is confident and looks forward to the competition. I am also making sure to go through all the (Gleaner) editorials, because 25 words (in the finals) will come from there."
Speaking on her strengths, Wilson added: "I think she is very competitive in nature. She does better with big words, because she has a good photographic memory. And also, as long as she knows the word she thinks and spells accurately ... ."