San Pedrana is nation's top speller
Friday, May 23, 2003

In the age of instant computerized communication, it is often
overlooked, but the seemingly lost art of spelling is very much alive
and well in I discovered this morning at the City Centre.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
Numismatic, which is spelt N-U-M-I-S-M-A-T-I-C was not the only
difficult word the students had to spell. The finals in the annual
Coca-Cola Spelling Bee were challenging, but at the end of the three
hour competition. Thirteen-year-old Rosie Syme of island Academy in San
Pedro knew she hit the jackpot when she was asked to spell the word

"Your word is geyser."

Rosie Syme, Winner, Coca Cola Spelling Bee
"Geyser, G-E-Y-S-E-R."

"You are correct."

Syme, who by her own admission did not have much difficulty, admitted
she was still nervous.

Rosie Syme
"I thought the words were a lot easier than I expected them to be."

Amanda Syme, Mother
"Oh we are absolutely elated. We're so excited"

Jacqueline Woods
"How hard did she study for this quiz?"

Amanda Syme
"Rosemary has studied for this for the past six months, she's worked
very, very hard."

Jacqueline Woods
"And you must be the proud dad?"

Tim Diskin, Father
"Yes I am. She worked hard, we're very proud of her."

After Syme secured the top spot there was an elimination round to
establish the second and third place winners. At the end of that fifth
round, twelve-year-old Lorenzo Ku of Trinidad Government School in
Orange Walk was declared runner up, while thirteen-year-old Juan Ramirez
of Belize Elementary School came in third.

Jacqueline Woods
"What did you do to prepare for the quiz?"

Lorenzo Ku, 2nd place winner
"I studied all the words necessary."

Jacqueline Woods
"Who helped you the most?"

Lorenzo Ku
"My teacher."

Eulalia Perez, Mother
"I feel very happy. I am proud of him."

Jacqueline Woods
"What did he do to prepare for the contest?"

Eulalia Perez
"He study hard because he said he want to win the computer."

Jacqueline Woods
"So he stayed up late at night?"

Eulalia Perez
"Yes. Today he wake up soon and he started to study."

Thirteen-year-old Juan Ramirez says he knew things were not going well
for him, but kept trying until it was all over.

Jacqueline Woods
"Juan when you entered the Belize City Centre, how were you feeling?"

Juan Ramirez, 3rd place winner
"Not really nervous, relaxed."

Jacqueline Woods
"And then what happened?"

Juan Ramirez
"And then I missed two words and just started freaking out."

Jacqueline Woods
"The words you got were pretty difficult to spell."

Juan Ramirez
"Yeah, I know, I didn't study for them."

Jacqueline Woods
"What did you do to prepare for the contest?"

Juan Ramirez
"Studied the list words and study from the dictionary."

Jacqueline Woods
"Anybody you'd like to thank?"

Juan Ramirez
"Mrs. Sharp and Miss Mitchell."

For Bowen and Bowen Limited, the ninth Coca Cola Spelling Bee was yet
another success.

David Craig, Merchandising Mgr., Bowen and Bowen Ltd.
"We thought this year in particular, this national in particular was
fabulous. We got a lot of comments about the balancing of the words,
because that is one of the most difficult things, to balance the words
so that all the kids get the same level of difficulty with the words.
The organisation team was fabulous; the rains kept back the buses from
coming in, but we started on time and we thought that overall it was a
really great contest, we feel very good about it. It's been a long road,
but this is the end of it now."

The first and second place winners, as well as the winning school, won
fully loaded computers. All three winning students won an overnight
holiday at Chan Chich Resort and other gifts.