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Spelling bee competition revived

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Buzzing around: Adley Duncan, a Crown counsel and the competition’s mascot, shares a light moment with Jolene Roberts, a pupil at Dalton E. Tucker Primary School, who won her school’s recent spelling bee competition (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The island’s schoolchildren will start readying themselves in September to take on a spelling bee competition launched yesterday on the steps of City Hall.

Rena Lalgie, the Governor, officially began the Verbal Victory Spelling Bee for the 2024-25 academic year.

Students aged 9 to 13 can take part in the revival of a competition previously known as the Spelldown.

From September, the pupils will learn to spell words from a booklet, which will be made available to them in printed and digital format.

They will then compete in preliminary competitions and before the contest’s semi-finals. The island-wide finals will be televised in March next year.

Warwick Academy students perform a South African folk song at the launch of the competition yesterday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

In brief remarks yesterday, Ms Lalgie said: “It is a lot of hard work ahead until we get to the stage where winners are being announced at the end.”

David Burt told the gathering, which included passers-by, parents and pupils, that the event “will provide a platform for students from all schools in Bermuda to showcase their spelling powers and compete in a friendly, yet challenging environment”.

The Premier added: “So as this competition is revived, it pays homage to the late leaders whose dedication to the community and education paved the way for success.”

Rena Lalgie, the Governor, officially declares the competition open (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said the competition promoted literacy.

He added: “It also encourages learning and builds a sense of community.”

Wendy Woods, who was victorious in a spelling bee in 1980, said she had just entered her teens when she was crowned winner that year.

Dr Woods added: “Despite the passage of time, I still retain very fond memories of the Spelldown competition.”

She said she vividly recalled the words “panacea” and “imminent” which she spelt accurately to win the event.

Dr Woods, who attended The Berkeley Institute, told the audience that during the competition “real-life lessons were learnt about the importance of diligence, integrity and respect”.

She added: “Perhaps most important of all, friendships were forged. I remember the fun and the camaraderie as we prepared.”

Yesterday, she encouraged the students to be “conscientious, hard-working, courteous and polite”.

Retired Puisne Judge Norma Wade-Miller, chairwoman of the competition’s organising committee, thanked stakeholders in the private and public sector for their support in reviving the event.

She said all students who participated in the contest will be recognised.

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Published May 23, 2024 at 8:13 am (Updated May 23, 2024 at 8:13 am)

Spelling bee competition revived

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