PRESS RELEASE – Another champion hails from the south of the island. Last year, the Colgate National Dental Spelling Bee Champion came from the Pierrot Combined School. In 2016, the champion is Mekella Popo, a petite Grade 3 student from the Micoud Primary School.
“I feel elated today, happy and overwhelmed.” Mekella said.
The Finals of the Competition was held on Friday 3rd December at the Coconut Bay Hotel, in Vieux Fort, where eight participants each representing their educational district competed very keenly for the grand title.
Ahead of the event, one of the architects of the competition, Angella Mariat, of the Curriculum and Materials Development Unit (CAMDU) appealed to teachers and parents to give the young students opportunities to participate and dispel the fear of what she termed “little children spelling big words.”
“The Ministry is so grateful when corporate sponsors come in to assist. And I’m saying to you teachers that’s the only opportunity that children get in order to win prizes, wonderful prizes. And so, we are indeed grateful for the assistance of Colgate and the other corporate partners, we are grateful for what you have done for the education system. Trust me, that’s what the students will remember when they leave school, unless they had a terrible experience. They will remember taking part in these competitions.”
The champion’s teacher, Brendaline Gonzague says Mekella is an exemplary student who brings much excitement and high expectations to the class and the school.
“It was not that difficult because as soon as the child picks up the word, she is able to spell it. We had to be studying the words together, making fun of the words because we did not know the proper pronunciation of the words and we had to ‘beat all around the bush’ trying to get the correct pronunciation of the word. And I really enjoyed doing it because it was quite exciting.”
And the support of the parents is absolutely crucial. Mekella’s mom explains.
“When I spoke to her teacher about her love for words and her love for books she mentioned the Spelling Bee and soon after, she was chosen as one of the children to prepare for the competition. She eventually won among themselves. Ever since then, I’ve worked with her at home, every morning during preparation for school, I’d be running around and calling ‘bruxism” and with every word, I gave her many different possible pronunciations, just in the event that the word was pronounced differently, so that she would know exactly what word it was.”
Colgate Brand Manager Betty-Forde, informed that they are the main sponsors of the competition which is now into its sixth year and with growing support from Anchor, Farmer’s Choice. She indicated her company’s pleasure working with the Ministry of Health and Education in order put smiles on the faces of the children of St. Lucia.
“Congratulations, I think you all did very well. I think you are all very deserving of being a part of this finals today. You have proven that and so on behalf of Colgate I want to welcome all of you here today. Thank you for participating”
The second and third place winners respectively are Shane Narcisse of the St. Aloysious RC Boys Primary and Akeelah Henry of the Soufriere Primary school.