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L-r: Last year’s primary winners Jelani Hanson and Jemma Watson with Deidre Edwards, who took third place in 2015.

Published 29th November 2016, 11:16am

Children across the Cayman Islands are under a spell, of the vocabulary kind, preparing for the national Spellings Bees competitions.

The highly anticipated two-day event is being held next week, with the 33rd Annual Lion’s Club of Grand Cayman Secondary Spelling Bee Competition on Wednesday, 7 December. The 19th Annual RBC Royal Bank Primary Spelling Bee Competition takes place the following day on Thursday, 8 December.

The competitions, which are staged by the Department of Education Services (DES) in conjunction with the sponsors, are not just about learning to spell long and complicated words. They also study etymology and learn roots, pronunciations, and multiple definitions. leading to better reading comprehension, increased literacy and greater enjoyment of reading, literature and language.

Both Spelling Bees competitions are open to pupils in government and private schools as well as children who are educated at home.

Primary aged children should have been no older than age 11 on 1 September, while secondary school-aged pupils must have been younger than 15 on that date to be eligible for the competition.

“The annual Spelling Bees are an event not to be missed and everyone is looking forward to these adrenaline-pumping competitions,” said Nicki Samuels, Senior Customer Service Officer with DES and organiser of the competition.

Both events will take place during school hours at Red Bay Church of God on Selkirk Drive in Grand Cayman, starting at 9.30 a.m. and are open to the public.

Unlike previous years, the competition for each group will take place on one day only, and schools from each of the three islands will compete at the same time in their designated category.

Although Spelling Bees is a competition which takes place around the world, the Cayman Islands version is modelled on the Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee which is held annually in Jamaica.

Last year’s primary school competition was won jointly by Jemma Watson and Jelani Hanson from George Town Primary School after a thrilling 45-minute tie-breaker round. The secondary school competition also saw a tense tiebreaker with Thomas Sevik Jnr. and Dilan Tatum from Layman E. Scott Snr. High School in Cayman Brac emerging as joint victors.