Students shine in spelling finals

Cayman Islands students ages 10 to 17 matched words this month during the two final spelling bee competitions that brought together the best ‘orthographers’ from local schools – both public and private.

Cayman Brac dominated this year’s Primary bee, which was sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada and the Department of Education Services. Now in its tenth year, the event was held on Tuesday, 27 November at Mary Miller Memorial Hall, said a GIS press release.

After four rounds of battling with words like havoc, oncology and obnoxious, the first-place honours went to Creek and Spot Bay Junior School student Venkata Batta. His many weeks of practice with his school peers and coaches, as well as years of reading educational and fun books, helped lead to excellence in spelling.

His reward for winning the spelling bee included a trophy, a laptop computer and a thesaurus, which perhaps lists the word ‘orthographer’ as a synonym for ‘speller.’

Venkata’s teammate, Joel Gayle, broke a three-way tie in the finals to take second place, with his correct spelling of annihilate. Aliyah Linwood, of John A. Cumber Primary School in West Bay, placed third in this junior-level competition.

In his remarks, Royal Bank of Canada’s Vice-President and Country Head Harry Chisholm noted that ‘spelling is fundamental to education; and good spelling is critical to success in the working world.’

He thanked the Department of Education Services for partnering with the bank in this initiative over the past decade. He also commended the bank’s staff members, especially Mitzi Bailey, for being involved in hosting this event over the years.

The bank also presented gifts to the students’ parents; provided refreshments; and staged an audiovisual display of the event over the past 10 years.

Other junior competitors and their respective schools were Janelle Taylor, Bodden Town Primary School; Lesontae Missick, Creek and Spot Bay Junior School; Chelsea Johnson, George Town Primary; Joseph Coyle and Loshana Lopez, Prospect Primary; Zoey Robinson, St. Ignatius Prep; Nnamdi Nwaefulu, Savannah Primary; Paige Flanagin, Triple C; and Stephanie Christian, Wesleyan Christian Academy.

The overall school trophy also went to Creek and Spot Bay Junior School, which led its competitors with a total of 78 points.

The high-school level spelling competition, sponsored by the Lions Club, British American Insurance Co. and the Department of Education Services took place earlier in the month, with Elizabeth Wahler of John Gray High School placing first. Her prize package included a trophy and a laptop computer.

Second place went to Joshua Dilbert of Cayman Brac High School, while Moesha Ramsay-Hall, representing PACE High School, placed third. Other competitors were Danielle Borden and Alecia Thompson, Leading Edge High School; and Japhia Augustine, PACE High School.

PACE also captured the trophy for the top high school – with a total of 58 points.