Kerry-Ann Hepburn, Children's Own Coordinator
I AM shocked!" was the response from The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee parish champion for Westmoreland, Racleo Clarke of Unity Primary School after it was announced that he was the winner of the competition.
Racleo noted that he only started taking spelling seriously in the summer and as such, was surprised with the results.
Coach Claudia Hall-Forrester told The Gleaner that she was elated that her charge emerged victorious. "We've been so close in previous years, but we've finally got it." As for preparing for the national finals, Hall-Forrester said, "We will seek help from the New Horizon coach because ultimately it's for the parish."
The grade-six student enjoys football, cricket and video games, but said his passion is sea creatures. "When I grow up, I want to become a ichthyologist, it is the study of fish." This he said was prompted by his brother, Romario, who was also a speller and competed in the parish final in 2011. He finished second.
Thirty-three students lined up for spell-master Dr Clive Lai at the Sean Lavery Faith Hall on October 4 for the final parish championship.
The national finals will take place in February 2014, and the winner will take part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington in the same year.
The 55th Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee was presented in association with Jamaica National, JTA Co-operative Credit Union, Sangsters Bookstore and Sunset Jamaica Grande, with contributors, Tastee, Wisynco and Continental Baking Company.
1 Racleo Clarke, Unity Primary
2 Brandon Leslie, New Horizon
3 Jade Johnson, Paradise
4 Rhian Gray, New Horizon
5 Keree Curnaldi, New Works
Jade Johnson, Paradise