Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer
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.
MIDDLETON, St Thomas:
HAVING EMERGED as parish Spelling Bee champion for St Thomas, 11-year-old Shanae Graham of Middleton Primary School is seeking to improve her seventh-place finish in last year's national finals.
Shanae is banking on her experience and knowledge, which could be the trump card for the intense and intriguing National Spelling Bee finals.
"I am better prepared than last time. For me, it's a remarkable achievement to be included in a second national final, owing to the fact that I am also listed among the top spellers from the various parishes.
Undoubtedly, the competition has helped to build my self-esteem, and I will be making a valiant attempt to do well, so as to secure that coveted trophy, which will make it the first for this parish," Shanae told The Gleaner.
The student noted that her preparation is made easier by the overwhelming support from not only her parents, who are committed to her progress and quest, but also members of her community and the teaching and student population at her school.
For coach Lavern Ross Graham (no relation), the preparation thus far has been good. She noted that, based on assessments done, her student should easily produce a better performance than last year.
"There are no glitches at this time," said Ross Graham.
She added: "Whatever challenges there were have been worked out. We are right where we want to be in terms of preparation, and with added help from Ms Marcia Beckford, our past principal, we have managed to get in most, if not all, of the necessary workload. Shanae's preparation includes using, or rather reading, editorials for unfamiliar words, using the Spelling Bee book, and using the dictionary. And if there are any weaknesses, those are readily identified."
According to the coach, Shanae is more motivated than ever before, and she has put in a lot of work, which is expected to reap the desired results. She noted that Shanae and all the other competitors are already champions in their own rights, and that all the spellers have worked tirelessly to get to the national finals.
Middleton Primary School has a student population of 170.