20 to battle in 20th year
Guardian Lifestyles Editor
Published: Mar 13, 2017
Students from as young as eight years old, in the person of Leviah Martin, up to age 14, in the person of Jannie Joseph, will participate in the 20th Bahamas National Spelling Bee. Martin, eight, a fourth grade student at Old Bight Primary School, will represent the Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador District. Joseph, 14, a student at S.C. McPherson, will represent the Southeastern District, in the battle for the title of the 20th Bahamas National Spelling Bee champion, which is expected to be fierce.
The national spelling bee will take place on Sunday, March 19 at the Atlantis Crown Ballroom at 3 p.m.
Also competing for the title this year will be L.W. Young Junior High School eighth grade student Alecia Ellis, 13, who will represent the Northeastern District. Forest Heights Academy’s eighth grade student Branae Bain, 13, will represent the Abaco District. Craig Simmons, 10, a sixth grade student at St. Cecilia’s School, will represent the Catholic schools; and India Bowleg, 11, a seventh grade student at Gateway Christian Academy will represent Grand Bahama.
Johnathan Randal, 11, a seventh grade student at Central Eleuthera High, will represent the Eleuthera District. Khyla Jones, 11, a sixth grade student at St. Cecilia’s School, will represent the Catholic schools; and Leslia Williams, 11, a sixth grade student at Sybil Strachan Primary, represents the Southwestern District.
Joining in the fray will also be Maude-Renette Joseph, 10, a sixth grade student at Mastic Point Primary, who represents North/Central Andros and the Berry Islands. Jee’von Pratt, 12, a seventh grade student at St. Augustine’s College, will represent the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools. Florenta Augustin, 10, a sixth grade student at Woodcock Primary, will represent the Northwestern District; and Gianna Malabanan, 13, a seventh grade student at Bishop Michael Eldon School will represent the Grand Bahama District.
Jelissa Bocage, 12, an eighth grade student at St. Anne’s School, will represent the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools. Kevano Seymour, nine, a fifth grade student at Deep Creek Primary represents the South Andros and Mangrove Cay District. Lila Nottage, 12, a seventh grade student at Lyford Cay International School, will represent the Associate Schools District.
Mason Baker, 11, a seventh grade student at N.G.M. Major High School, will represent the Long Island District. Pablo Smith, nine, a fifth grade student at Moss Town Primary School, will represent the Exuma District. Sarthak Saxena, 12, a seventh grade student at St. Andrew’s School, will represent the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools. And Eddison Rose Jr., 11, a sixth grade student at Salina Point Primary School, will represent the MICAL District.
At the end of the day after the final word has been spelled, one of the 20 children will claim the title of the 20th Bahamas National Spelling Bee and earn the right to represent The Bahamas at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which this year marks nine decades and is one of the United States’ oldest and most iconic competitions.
To determine who will represent The Bahamas at Scripps, when the number of spellers is reduced to two, if one speller misspells a word, the other speller shall be given an opportunity to spell that same word. If the second speller spells that word correctly, plus the next word on the pronouncer’s list, then the second speller will be declared the champion. If both spellers misspell the same word, both shall continue in the competition, and the one who first misspells the word shall be given a new word to spell. The champion is not the champion until he or she corrects the misspelling of the other speller and then correctly spells the next word on the pronouncer’s list.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee will take place May 28 to June 3 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.
The Scripps winner receives a $40,000 cash prize and the Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved trophy; from Merriam-Webster, a $2,500 savings bond and a complete reference library; from Encyclopedia Britannica, $400 worth of reference works, including a 1768 Encyclopedia Britannica Replica Set deluxe edition and a three-year membership to Britannica Online Premium; as well as a trip to New York City for the champion to appear on LIVE with Kelly.
Since 1976, the Scripps Bee has included competitors from outside the United States. This year, spellers from six non-U.S. countries will participate in the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee — The Bahamas, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and Korea.
Every year more than 280 spellers step onto the stage at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
And this year, the Bahamian competitor should expect to compete against a five-year-old. Edith Fuller, from Oklahoma, has become the youngest contestant ever to qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee after she correctly spelled “jnana” and won her regional championship, according to officials.
Fuller, who is homeschooled, beat more than 50 children at the Scripps Green Country Regional Spelling Bee in Tulsa, Oklahoma to advance to the final level of the prestigious competition.
Before Fuller’s stunning achievement, the youngest spellers to qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee were six.
There is no minimum age to compete in the competition.
The Bahamian winner will be heading into a competition that has also only had co-champions four times in its history — 2014, 1962, 1957 and 1950.
In The Bahamas, the Archdiocesan Spelling Competition, which this year celebrated its 50th year, is the oldest formal spelling competition.
A spelling bee’s purpose is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabulary, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.
20TH NATIONAL SPELLING BEE COMPETITORS
Eddison Rose Jr.