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Wards compete for glory

Published:Monday | March 22, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

More than 100 children from 10 children's homes and places of safety throughout the Corporate Area and St Catherine met earlier this month to compete in the eighth annual Rotaract Club of Kingston Inter-Home Spelling Bee Competition.

Although many turned out merely to mingle and have a good time, there were some ardent spellers who were in a highly competitive mood.

After some long hours of spelling, three of the wards were crowned top Spelling Bee champions for 2010, in the three different age categories which ranged from 8-17.

Two of the top spellers were housed at the Maxfield Park Children's Home in Kingston, while the winner in the age 8-12 category came from Strathmore Gardens Place of Safety.

Essay competition

There was also an essay competition where the children expressed themselves on topical issues such as what they would do to assist earthquake victims in Haiti.

Individual prizes were given to all the winners. Maxfield Park Children's Home, which had the most points standing at the end of the day's event, walked away with a $25,000 cash prize.

President of the Rotaract Club of Kingston, Andrew Evans, said the event was the club's way of fulfilling its mandate of promoting literacy.

"Under our mandate of promoting literacy worldwide we decided to focus this year on children in homes and places of safety who are considered less fortunate. These are young people, some of whom have not been properly cared for and as such we decided to target them," he said.

Worthwhile experience

Evans said the day's event also provided the experience for those children who might be considering making it into the National Spelling Bee Competition.

"Most of them are in high schools, and to have them come out in such a competitive atmosphere, this will provide them with worthwhile experience and have them better equipped," Evans said.

Social worker Richard Lawrence, who worked at the Maxfield Park Children's Home, said he was satisfied with the day's event and that the prize money was well needed.

"We have a number of projects that this money can go towards, however we will have to sit down and look for the best way in which it can be used to help the children in particular," Lawrence said.