The 2013 Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee Championship,in association with Jamaica National Building Society, will be held on Wednesday, February 6, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, starting at 9 a.m. Below are features on two parish champions.
WITH THE highly accomplished Reverend Glen Archer as her coach, young Joanna Turner, the reigning Hanover champion, should be heavily scrutinised when she commences her participation in the final of the 2012/13 The Gleaner's Children's Own National Spelling Bee competition.
"I am looking forward to doing very well," said the soft-spoken Joanna, a student at Hanover Preparatory School. "I have a very good coach and I am preparing very well."
Similar to Joanna, her principal, Tiffany Grant-Smith, who initially started out as her coach, thinks highly of her competence as a speller and is expecting her to do very well in her quest to become the best in the national final, which will see her facing off with other parish champions.
"She is a hard-working student and she is deeply committed to doing well," said Grant-Smith. "She is quite mature for her age and I expect her to do very well in the final and make us proud."
Joanna's mother, Dr Sonia Caruth-Turner, who now has the task of ensuring that her daughter strikes the right balance between her Grade Six Achievement Test and Spelling Bee preparations, thinks the competition has done wonders for her daughter.
"It has helped to build a sense of discipline in her," said Dr Caruth-Turner. "I have also seen much improvement in her overall school work, which is most encouraging."
Reminiscing on the range of emotions she experienced when her daughter emerged as the Spelling Bee champion for Hanover, earning the right to contest the national final, Dr Caruth-Turner said she was elated as, from all indications, Joanna acquitted herself quite well.
However, in looking forward to the more challenging national final, Joanna admitted she was feeling some amount of anxiety.
"I have a lot of confidence in her ability but, nonetheless, there is a little anxiety," said Dr Caruth-Turner. "In addition, we are working closely with her to keep her composed but, frankly speaking, I expect her to do well."
While she is still very young, Joanna has already decided that she wants to join her mother in the medical field.