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Students Spell Success

Winners all - the five primary school spelling bee winners with sponsors: L-r: Shante Reid (Goerge Town Primary), Javon Lewison (Prospect Primary), Oneika Duncan (George Town Primary), Theodore Thompson (Truth for Youth) and Jordanne Saunders (Cayman Academy); back row: l-r: Royal Bank of Canada Red Bay Branch Manager Mrs. Mitzie Bailey and RBC Area Vice President and Manager Mr. Michael Munnings

Five primary school pupils made history late Tuesday night (3 December 2013) in the annual Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Primary School Spelling Bee, when they stumped judges and had organisers scrambling, before each took home first prize.

Little did Education Minister Hon. Tara Rivers know how prophetic her words would be when she declared at the opening, that every one of the participants was already a winner to have reached the finals.

In the end, all five finalists performed perfectly through the end of the spell-off and were declared first prize winners. Oneika Duncan and Shante Reid of George Town Primary (GTPS), Jordanne Saunders of Cayman Academy, Javon Lewison of Prospect Primary (PPS) and Theodore Thompson of Truth for Youth captured the top honours with ease.

One by one, the five neatly dispatched words such as cinquefoil, proboscis and coccyx, forcing the organisers to spend over an hour attempting to put together an entirely new set of words for a further spell off.

Proudly holding aloft the trophy they won for their school, George Town Primary, are l-r Oneika Duncan, Shante Reid and Jessica Stewart, with RBC's Mrs. Mitzie Bailey and Mr. Michael Munnings.

Thanks entirely to the generosity of sponsor Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and its Area Vice President and main branch Manager, Mr. Michael Munnings, organisers decided to up the prize stakes, declaring five first prize winners while awarding no second or third prizes. Each winner will receive a trophy and an Apple I-pad, RBC Red Bay Manager Mrs. Mitzie Bailey said. The prize giving took place today (Thursday, 5 December 2013) at RBC's main office downtown.

Reigning champion GTPS retained the best school trophy with a winning score of 89 earned by a talented trio of girls that also included finalist Jessica Stewart.

Since the RBC sponsored bee began in 1998, GTPS has won top honours six times, although Creek-Spot Bay Primary leads with seven titles. Other winners have been Prospect Primary - twice and Bodden Town Primary (BTPS) - once.

At the same time, all 15 finalists (nine boys and six girls) turned out to be "winners" with stellar performances that kept the vast audience of parents, teachers, family members, friends and well-wishers enthralled for nearly four hours. All 15 received individual prizes from Mr. Munnings and Mrs. Bailey.

Education Minister Hon. Tara Rivers applauded the talented finalists in the RBC primary school annual spelling bee, describing them all as winners.

Mr. Munnings commented: "I am so proud to have been a part of the wonderful display of talent, by the youngsters in this 16th Annual RBC Royal Bank Spelling Bee Competition. At RBC, we realize the importance of developing our youth, and we remain committed to this investment, to facilitate a successful future for them and our community at large. Congratulations to all, and especially to our five-way, first place winners."

Other finalists included: Deidre Edwards - BTPS; Okezie Eleweanya - Cayman Academy; Thomas Sevik - Creek and Spot Bay Primary; Andrew McLaughlin - First Baptist; Samuel White and Patrick Thompson - PPS - Shmritee Arun - St. Ignatius Primary; and Dequan Smith and Thaddeus Solomon - Savannah Primary.

Before the contest, the participants received encouragement from Chief Education Officer Mrs. Shirley Wahler as well as a winner from the first RBC sponsored competition in 1998, Mr. Eldon Parchmon. The contestants also followed the rules outlined by RBC's Mrs. Angela McLaughlin. The judges - Education Services' Senior Data Manager Dr. Philip Palmer and Senior Registration/Attendance Officer, Mr. Errol Levy as well as RBC's Ms Monique Watson - could find nothing to fault the finalists.

Spell master Cayman National Cultural Foundation Managing Director, Mrs. Marcia Muttoo, was kept busy ensuring all the students clearly heard and understood the words they had to spell. However, with the students' prompt responses, time keeper RBC's Ms Devon Myles had an easier time, commented Master of Ceremonies, Education Services' Senior Customer Services Officer, Mr. James Watler.


For further information contact: Bina Mani