Champion spellers impress at competitions

| 23/12/2015
Cayman News Service

(L-R) Joint primary school spelling bee winners Jelani Hanson and Jemma Watson, with third-place finisher Deidre Edwards

(CNS): The annual national spelling bees ended in tense tiebreakers for both primary and secondary school students at finals held on 1 and 2 December. In the 32nd Lions Club of Grand Cayman Secondary Schools Spelling Bee, 14 students vied for the title.

Thomas Sevik Jr and Dilan Tatum from Layman E. Scott Sr High School in Cayman Brac emerged as joint victors after a tiebreaker round lasting more than an hour.

The boys were each challenged with additional words but a tie was declared when all the words were spelt correctly. Both students successfully spelt 16 words, plus an additional 31 in the tiebreaker.

Javon Lewinson from Clifton Hunter High School secured third place.

The RBC Royal Bank Primary Schools Spelling Bee preliminaries took place on 5 and 6 November with 27 students from across the Cayman Islands competing, and two vying for first place in the finals.

After a 45-minute tiebreaker round, Jemma Watson and Jelani Hanson from George Town Primary School were declared joint winners, having spelt the 16 words from the competition and the 20 tiebreaker words correctly.

There was also a tie for third place so a spell-off was held between Deirdre Edwards from Bodden Town Primary School and Alexander Rhule from Prospect Primary School, with the former winning the round.

Cayman News Service

(L-R) Joint secondary school winners Dilan Tatum and Thomas Sevik Jr, with Lions Club of Grand Cayman President Ewan Jacques and Acting Chief Education Officer Lyneth Monteith

Mitzie Bailey of RBC, who was the emcee for the event and co-ordinator of the Primary Schools Spelling Bee for the past 18 years, thanked everyone involved, including parents, teachers, principals, officials and her RBC colleagues.

She added, “To the students, once again you have shown us your abilities, thank you and well done. We are proud of our community and RBC is committed to the success of the Cayman Islands.”

Changes to this year’s spelling bee included the primary school competition having just two divisions: Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac; the failure to spell a word correctly resulting in the student being eliminated in both that round and the competition; and the top 60 percent of students moving on to the finals.

The fourth round and the tiebreakers came from an additional word bank, which included complex words such as philippic, gymkhana, alcazar, barukhzy, weimaraner and cacophony.

“The students adapted well to the changes and their level of commitment and the addition of the elimination process brought a different flow to the event,” said Nicki Samuels from the Department of Education Services. “The calibre of students was incredible and the tiebreaker rounds for both the secondary and primary schools made it even more exciting.”

Samuels added, “Spelling bees are loved by all our students and they play an important role in their overall academic development.”

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Category: High School, Primary School

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