Adrian Frater, News Editor
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 A rigid preparation schedule, which sees him spending six hours preparing every day, grade-six student Phillip Williams of Glen Stuart Primary School in St Elizabeth is throwing his all in his ambitious bid to become the National Spelling Bee champion.
"Every day I wake up at 3:00 a.m. and practise until 6:00 a.m.," said Phillip, who has been residing with coach and mentor Maxine Barrett since he won the St Elizabeth parish title in September. "In the evenings, I practise from 6 o' clock until 11:00 o'clock."
Phillip has become so resolute in his preparation for the National Spelling Bee final that he shelved all other activities, which include watching television and his first love, playing cricket.
"I love to watch television and play cricket, but I have to put those aside for the time being," said the seemingly well-organised Phillip. "I am not satisfied with only being the St Elizabeth parish champion; I want to be the national champion as well."
Similar to Phillip, his mother, Paula Bowen, who is most impressed by his commitment to preparation and his devotion to hard work, is also brimming with confidence and fully expects her son to make an indelible mark on the National Spelling Bee final.
"He does not talk a lot. He is always doing his school work," said Bowen. "I am very impressed by the fact that he is getting very good grades and wants to make a success of his life."
REcalling how she reacted when she first learnt that Phillip was crowned the Spelling Bee champion for St Elizabeth, Bowen said she simply could not contain her joy.
"When I heard, I screamed, I laughed and I cried. I was so happy," said Bowen. "My son wants to become a medical doctor and, based on what I am seeing in him, I believe he will achieve his dream."
At school, Phillip is like a role model to other students as, according to class teacher Maxine Coke, he is well-behaved and is a source of motivation to other students.
"He works very hard and the other students draw strength from him," said Coke. "He is a very good student and I am expecting him to be a success in life."