San Pedro Roman Catholic School, Ambergris Preparatory School, Maestro Reyes' School of Knowledge and Lydia's Institute of Fine Education were the schools that participated in the Children's Rally. The Mayor of San Pedro Town, Manuel Heredia Jr. J.P., was Master of Ceremonies. Mr. Frank Nuņez, principal of the Ambergris Preparatory School, in his address encouraged children to respect and love their country. He also said "Just as you are protective of your personal mother and are always ready to defend her, so should you stand up and defend your mother country Belize."
The new Assistant Inspector of Police, Mr. Dean Lozano, also spoke to the children on crime, drugs and proper behaviorisms. He said, "You must practice love, respect and mannerly behavior at all times. With your parents, friends, teachers, your elders and everyone in the community." The high point of the morning was the performance of two boisterous and hilarious clowns called Ozzie and Chubby. The children laughed loudly as the two amusing characters entertained them with a hysterical routine of kicks, falls and jokes. After many shouts of delight the children from the upper classes of the schools paraded through the streets of San Pedro. The younger children who were left behind at the Lions Den were entertained by Ozzie and Chubby. When the older children returned from their parading they were all given their "treats".
The children spent the rest of the morning enjoying their refreshments and listening to festive music under the cool shade at the Lions Den.
Council, entertained the children at
the Children's Rally
The Mayor of San Pedro, Manuel Heredia Jr. J.P., opened the contest with a brief speech and teacher Donald Conners explained the rules of the contest. The sixteen participating students were asked three rounds of questions; the first round consisting of three questions, a second round of two and a third round of one question. Correct answers in rounds one and two were awarded five points. Ten points were given for correct answers in round three with 5 points deducted for incorrect answers in this round.
After the first two rounds, the students with the highest scores were kept in the contest and the others were eliminated. By the end of round three, Gonzalo Lara and Candace Castillo were tied for first place and four contestants were tied for third. The list of prepared questions that had been given to each student were used up during the run-off contest for third place. The students were then quizzed from a reserve list, resulting in Melody Sanchez as the third place winner. Gonzalo Lara and Candace Castillo then competed for the first place position with Gonzalo emerging victorious.
In the first round of the competition the children were required to spell three words, each word worth five points. During the first round some of the children displayed eagerness and nervousness while some upheld cool, calm composures. The second round seemed to take its toll on the children who were behind. They made sullen faces and answered their questions in an indifferent manner. To the end of the second round only children with perfect scores of 25 went on to the next level of competition. The remaining contestants were given words to spell from the "reserve list" of spelling words. The children who progressed on to the third round of competition were; Katrina Bradley, Kareem Gonzalez, Nasaim Waight, Melissa Reyes, Dalia Alamilla and Velia Pech. The children went through their three given words until only three of them progressed on to the final round of competition. Nasaim, Melissa and Dalia huddled together in excitement as Anne Belisle called out the words they were required to spell. Nasaim misspelled the word "principal" and that error positioned him in third place. Dalia and Melissa were the only two contestants remaining. Dalia misspelled the word "police" and she stepped away sadly to allow Melissa to spell her word. Anne Belisle called out the word "hospital" and Melissa quickly rattled out the perfect spelling of the word. The crowd applauded loudly and the small, lovely eight years old beamed at the crowd.
According to Melissa she didn't expect to win. She had had only two days to learn all the 150 plus spelling words. Melissa also said that she and Dalia Alamilla, who placed second, were best friends and even though Dalia did not win, Melissa is positive that they will still remain best of friends.
Melissa along with some of the other children in the competition had problems with the ronunciations of certain words such as; "colt" which was mistaken for "cult", "common" which was thought to have been "come on" and "built" which was misspelled as "belt".
Although there was only one first place recipient all the participants of the contest were winners. All the children received prizes for their participation in the Spelling Bee Contest.