IT'S 2013, and nothing has changed in Trelawny - well with the exception of the coach for the top speller.
Defending champion Lareicia Harvey of Westwood High School, coached by the Rev Glen Archer, beat out 39 students to retain the title of champion for the parish at the William Knibb Church Hall last week Thursday.
The win was the result of true dedication on the part of not only Harvey, but her mother. "She travelled to Kingston faithfully every Saturday for training," Archer told The Gleaner.
He had only glowing words for the champ, lauded as one of his most experienced spellers, as she has participated in three national finals. "She is very easy to work with, teachable, and she has a level of humility that makes her open to guidance." As for her preparation for the national finals, Archer plans to incorporate her into his already meticulous programme.
With confidence, Lareicia said she plans to pull out all the stops for the finals. "I'm coming harder. Since this year is my final year, they better watch out for me because I'm coming."
Archer's commitment to the bee is a long-standing one, ushering in a new approach to spelling after his protégée Jody Ann Maxwell won the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in 1998. "My job in working with spellers outside the domain of Kingston and St Andrew is basically because I want to raise the standard as much as possible and give these children the best training possible because to go to Washington, it takes a very mature speller."
This is Lareicia's fifth time in the competition and her third consecutive win. She will go on to compete against 13 other parish champions at the National Championships in February 2014.
1 Lareicia Harvey, Westwood High School.
2 Brianna Robinson, Granville Primary School.
3 Julian Isaacs, Granville Primary School.
4 Jevaun Clarke, William Knibb Memorial High School.
5 Rachel Bartley, William Knibb Memorial High School.
Julian Isaacs, Granville Primary School.