Kerry-Ann Hepburn, Children's Own Coordinator
May Pen, Clarendon:
Fifty-one students from 30 schools lined up to face spell mistress Marlene Stephenson-Dalley at the St Gabriel's Anglican Church Hall on Wednesday. They were competing for the Clarendon parish crown in The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee Competition.
The competition started with quiet excitement as last year's second-place finisher, Tejaun Gibbison, as well as the 2012 parish champion for Manchester, Ashley Ricketts (now representing Knox College), took the cue.
By the second half of the spelldown, it was evident that there would be a tough battle to the finish. When spell master Dr Clive Lai kicked off with the unseen words, the numbers dwindled quickly, then it was down to the final two: Ashley and Tejaun.
Tejaun found himself in the same place he was last year, seeing the finish line but not quite yet there. It was shaping up to be quite a duel, with Ashley proving to be a worthy opponent and ready for the challenge. But it was Tejaun who, in the end, proved he wanted it more.
"I am enthusiastic!" he said of his win.
Tejaun's coach, the Reverend Glen Archer, has every confidence in him.
"This is the kind of child you want at nationals," Archer said.
1. Tejaun Gibbison, Knox College
2. Ashley Ricketts, Knox College
3. Jaden Henry, Glenmuir High
4. Ammir Nehemi, Vere Technical High
5. Larona Clayton, St Thomas More Preparatory
Top Girl: Ashley Ricketts, Knox College