Today, the top spellers at the primary school level converged at the Countryside Park in Spanish Lookout for the 20th Annual National Spelling Bee.
After 3 hours of competition, 3 students emerged as the best of the 12 finalists. Today's champion was Shanalene Gayap of Solid Rock Academy. She;'s only ten years old, but she knew how to spell "Beau" - as in boyfriend, and "coucal" - a kind of bird.
She's the youngest winner ever and she told us how she earned her spelling mastery:
"I feel very good and I give all the credit to the good Lord."
Duane Moody, Ch5
"Was it hard for you competing? Tell us about the effort you put into it to make sure that you come out on top."
"I put much effort thanks to my friends and to the school and I thank everybody for helping me and also it was kind of a challenge to make it this far and I thank the lord for everything."
"Basically it is just each level you go, it is just more advance."
"What would you tell persons who want to compete next year in the Spelling Bee? How does one study to win this competition?"
"Well you have to dream your goal and you have to work hard for it."
"I am very ecstatic about this and its been a blessing to go very far and it was a very tight competition especially between me and the little girl that came in second."
"Tell us about the competition; those difficult words that you had, you had to try several times before getting i right?"
"A couple of them I had to try lots of times."
"What was it like preparing for this competition? How many hours did you spend studying?"
"Like after school if I didn't have any homework I would study. Sometimes I would go through sleepless nights studying with my mom who coached me."
The first, second and third place winners were all awarded with various electronic devices including a laptop computer, a printer a trophy and various other things. Shanalene Gayap who is in standard 4 at her primary school, will also get a full scholarship to sixth form. She'll have to go through 6 more years of schooling to get to that level.