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Spelling Bee under way this month

Published:Tuesday | September 10, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Preparation is at full throttle for coaches and spellers as they get ready for the 2013 edition of The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee parish finals.

This year marks the 54th renewal of the popular competition, that pits prep, primary, and high-school students against some of the most gargantuan words in the English language. The first parish final will be in St Elizabeth on September 24. Karin Cooper, business development and marketing manager at The Gleaner, said the entries have been coming in steadily.

"We've been getting more entries by email now than in the past and also still getting a lot by phone," she said. Though the deadline for entries is September 13, Cooper added: "But we want our potential participants to remember that they can register at the venues on the day." She admitted early registration was still recommended as it helps get the days off to a smoother start and the officials have a better idea of the numbers to expect. The schedule of parish finals is available in the various Gleaner publications.

Spelling be 'wholesome'

Cooper said the long-running educational contest was still revered because it was "wholesome".

"It is something around which families can engage, because they can help the child to prepare. It becomes a family activity." Dictation and comprehension were always part of the national finals and Cooper feels that strategy was validated by the international Scripps National Spelling Bee including a vocabulary component, where spellers had to not only do written spelling but also had to pick the meaning of the words in a multiple-choice test.

"So I think the style of our 'Bee' certainly prepares the speller to participate at that level more effectively."

There are two new venues for 2013, the Hollis Peter Lynch Building in Montego Bay, St James and the Hotel Tim Bamboo in Port Antonio, Portland.

Co-educational schools are allowed to send two students to the Spelling Bee - one boy and one girl. Same-sex schools can only send one student. To qualify, students must be age 14 or younger, or be in Grade 8 or below on February 1, 2014. Participants must attend school in Jamaica.

To enter, mail to: Spelling Bee Parish Finals, Business Development and Marketing Department, The Gleaner Company Limited, 7 North Street, Kingston. Telephone: 922-3400 (Ext. 6315/6316), Fax: 922-6528/922-6413. Email: or shamille.bryan