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May 31, 2007

Deaf spelling bee is a hit with students

Story PictureIt’s called the National Spelling Bee for the Deaf and while as a media event it’s no match for its big brother sponsored by Coca-Cola, the competition held this morning at the B.E.S. auditorium was no less important to the participants. News Five’s Kendra Griffith has more.

Eleanor Enriquez Castillo, Coordinator, Special Education Unit
“When the announcer calls out the words there is another person who signs the word and the student is able to see the sign and know which word it is and then they spell.”

“It’s similar to the regular spelling bee. The difference is that the children spell with their hands and fingers. It’s a finger spelling competition. The students must learn from a list of say three hundred words, that’s the regular words and then there is the extra reserve and the reserve list.”

Kendra Griffith, Reporting
The spelling bee has a junior and senior section. Taking top honours in the junior group was six year old Jamie Muschamp of Stella Maris School. Sofia Muschamp is Jamie’s mother.

Sofia Muschamp, Mother of Junior Winner
“Her winning word was school and that was from the list for the seniors, because they were all doing so good and nobody was missing anything and they exhausted the list and they had to find something else that would eliminate some and “school” was hers.”

Kendra Griffith
“And she had no problems?”

Sofia Muschamp
“Yeah, she spelt it wrong two times and on her third try she got it right.”

“I think I was more excited than she was. I was the one nervous and she was sitting there all cool and everything.”

Second place went to Omica Chun, while Steven Ferrel took third. Both are students at the Cayo Institute for the Deaf.

According to Coordinator for the Special Education Unit, Eleanor Enriquez Castillo, memory plays a major role in the children’s ability to spell.

Eleanor Enriquez Castillo
“They don’t have any other resource that they can use to help them to learn. They have to be able to remember the words and the sequence of the letters in the words because they can’t use phonics to help them.”

Like the junior competition, the seniors also went down to the wire, with hardly any words being spelt wrongly.

In the end, Shanice Brown of Stella Maris was declared the winner. Edgar Canelo of St. Peter’s Special Education Centre in Orange Walk took second place, while Shane Castillo, also of Stella Maris, came in third.

Eleanor Enriquez Castillo
“First place, some of them will get cellular phones, which they will use to text, they can send text messages, which is why the spelling bee is important because they have to learn to spell, they get dictionaries, and an assortment of gifts.”

The National Spelling Bee for the Deaf is sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Crystal Bottling Company. Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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