Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
CHAUNTE BLACKWOOD of Wolmer's Preparatory School will be representing Kingston in the 2013 Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee finals, an honour which she is very proud of.
"I am very happy to be representing Kingston in the competition. Last year, I came second, but I did it this time around," she told The Gleaner.
Chaunte is one of the youngest competitors in the competition at nine years old. However, by no means is she intimidated by that, as despite her age, she is very confident that she can come out on top.
"I am more prepared this year and that has helped me in believing in myself that I can do it. I am going to the finals to win, nothing else."
Added to her high confidence level is the fact that she is coached by one of the most successful local Spelling Bee coaches, the Rev Glen Archer.
Archer received international recognition when he coached Jamaica's own Jody-Anne Maxwell, who won the 1998 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in the United States of America. Maxwell was the first competitor outside of the United States of America to have won the competition.
Archer is also the coach of Clarendon champion Stephen Nelson and St Andrew champion Christian Allen.
Of her coach, Chaunte said, "He is very thorough. I believe he knows what he is doing and I feel even more confident because of that."
putting in the time
It has been hard work for Chaunte as she prepares for the big moment. "I have been putting in a lot of time, I know I have to work hard if I really want to win, so I am just making the sacrifice," Chaunte said.
The Wolmer's Preparatory School family is also very proud of their girl Chaunte and is, of course, backing her to win. Principal of the school Lorna Downie said, "I expect a winner. She has been working very hard and we are confident that she will do very well."
Downie said the school was very elated when Chaunte won the parish finals. "It was jubilation; the school literally stopped when it was announced that she won. We are so happy, everyone is wishing the best for her," Downie said.
The grade-four student also receives great support from her mother Trecia Blackwood.
"My mother is very proud of me; she is very supportive and helps me in my studies, which helps a lot."