The 22nd annual Coca Cola National Spelling Bee Final was held today in Burrell Boom. The 12 top Primary schools spellers nationwide converged on the Castelton Park - to be cheered on by their school mates, from Calcutta SDA in Corozal to Golden Stream Government School in Toledo.

After two hours of displaying their spelling prowess, it came down to two boys: Jaheel Warrior from Bethel SDA in Toledo and Shaheed Perez from Bernice Yorke in Belize City. Here's the word that decided first place:...

Courtney Weatherburne reporting
That was the winning word for the 22nd National Spelling Bee Competition. After several rounds of elimination, these 12 students from across the country made it to the finals today to compete for 1st place. And that took months of organizing.

Leanne Castillo, Coca Cola Brand Coordinator, Bowen & Bowen "We have been in planning since last year actually. The process from zone to district to finals has been since February and again in April and now today with the finals. Its a good journey within several months."

And it was also an intense couple of months for these young spellers as well. All these students studied and reviewed word lists for hours a day to prepare for the competition.

But in the end, the 3 best spellers were chosen. First place went to Jaheel Warrior from Bethel Seventh Day Adventist School in Toledo.

While Bernice Yorke's Shaheed Perez came in 2nd. And 3rd place went to Jody Xia from La Inmaculada RC School in Orange Walk.

They all told us that all their hard work paid off.

Courtney Weatherburne
"Tell us how you prepared for the Spelling Bee competition."

Jaheel Warrior - 1st Place - Bethel SDA
"I went on the internet and studied the origin and root words."

Courtney Weatherburne
"So did you get help from your parents, your teachers?"

Jaheel Warrior - 1st Place - Bethel SDA
"I got help from my father, mother, school and sister. I feel very excited and that my hard work paid off."

Courtney Weatherburne
"Were you directly involved in preparing your student to win the Spelling Bee competition?"

Ray Jacobs, Vice Principal, Bethel SDA
"Yes from the time we won the first one I told them we will go through. I was his coach and supporter, we prayed together, we brought out theme that says 'human effort plus God's grace give us success. With that in mind we told them that we are going to take it back to PG today. We are telling the ladies that we are coming for the Champion and they said 'maybe', I said 'no we are coming for it'. I want to thank God and its history today, it's the first time a Seventh Day Adventist School won the championship."

Shaheed Perez - 2nd Place - Bernice York Institute
"It was really tiring but I was able to make it out in the end and because I have exam week today and I had to give up all of that. It took me a long time."

Courtney Weatherburne
"So you were able to balance studying for your exams and studying for this spelling bee?"

Shaheed Perez - 2nd Place - Bernice York Institute
"Yes. From when I studied at school, they let me studied at 3:30 because my school ended at 1:30. When I came home I had to do more studying until in the night time around 8:30."

Jody Xia - 3rd Place - La Inmaculada R.C School
"We mostly studied with my coach who is Mr. Polanco the principal of La Inmaculada R.C School. He had us at school until 5 o'clock which was very late and he gave us multiple lists which we had to study all. We also had practices where we had to guess the first letter of every word by using the numbers and by guessing how to spell the word using rules, guessing by their origin. It was a very tedious process but in the end it did work out and I am glad that it did."

But why is it so important to drill these kids on these big words? Isn't just a one-time competition? Well, Brand Coordinator Leanne Castillo told us that it goes beyond the recognition and fancy prizes, it's about encouraging kids and everyone for that matter, to keep reading.

Leanne Castillo, Coca Cola Brand Coordinator, Bowen & Bowen
"What we try to highlight is the fact that we try to encourage kids to continue reading, the importance of reading and literature. Also we find that we have kids with different talents, not everyone will be out with sports, everyone has their hidden talents. This speaks to kids that enjoy reading and it encourages reading. That's why we find it important to continue with this 22 year long tradition to continue to encourage our kids even those in the audience, today we offered them puzzles to encourage them about the importance and it can be associated with spelling."

All 12 finalists got prizes.

Channel 7