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Spelling Bee was F-U-N

Published:Sunday | February 14, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The spellers and their coaches pay a courtesy call on Andrew Holness, minister of education; Audrey Sewell (fifth left), permanent secretary; and Grace McLean (fourth right), chief education officer. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

The following are highlights from the recently concluded 51st final of The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee competition. The event that saw students from across the island vying for the top spot was a riveting and exciting one for all. Young Clarendonian Owayne Rodney won the championship after successfully spelling his way to victory over Kingston's Tremaine Dixon. For the first in many years, three boys emerged top of the pack with St Thomas' Hanif Brown Jr bringing joy to his parish by finishing an unexpected third.

After the gruelling spelling, the students were treated to dinner with the sponsors at The Jamaica Pegasus' Talk of the Town Restaurant, where karaoke and good fun were the order of the night.

But the festivities in the capital did not stop there, as the young spellers enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon at Putt 'N' Play amusement park the following day.

The week of activities also included courtesy calls on the Governor General Sir Patrick Allen at King's House, and Education Minister Andrew Holness.

Above: Governor General Sir Patrick Linton Allen raps with the students and their coaches at King's House.

The top-three spellers and their coaches pause to celebrate with Gleaner personnel. From left are Oliver Clarke, OJ, (The Gleaner's chairman and managing director); Hanif Brown Jr (third place); Tremaine Dixon (second place); Owayne Rodney (champion); Christopher Barnes (The Gleaner's deputy managing director); Primrose Swaby (champion coach); and Rev Glen Archer (second- and third-place coach).- Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

They are ecstatic! Coach Primrose Swaby (left) and father Owen Rodney (second left) celebrate Owayne Rodney's (centre) victory with students from St Thomas More Preparatory School.- Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Owayne Rodney proudly shows off his Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee champion trophy.- Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Spellers wait in different ways for their turn to spell during the competition.

Spellers Lois Robinson (right) and Tenescia Watson take a keen interest in the activities onstage as the remaining spellers vie for the top prize.- Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

The top spellers (from left) Tremaine Dixon, Hanif Brown Jr, Owayne Rodney and Daviesh Mills pay a courtesy call on Earl Jarrett, general manager of Jamaica National Building Society. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer