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Dec 4, 2014

Cayo Deaf Institute Tops Spelling Bee

Students from the Cayo Deaf Institute are among the brightest spellers. Elizabeth Shub and Brenda Coc won in the junior and senior categories, respectively, of the Spelling Bee for the Hearing Impaired held today to coincide with Disability Week. The event was held at the Belize Elementary School Gymnasium where the competition was fierce among the students ages five to fourteen. The list included at least two hundred words competed in at least five rounds of sign spelling to make it to the top. Duane Moody reports on the nineteenth annual Crystal Spelling Bee.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Eleven students from the Cayo Deaf Institute, Saint Peter’s School and the Stella Maris School in Belize competed today for the title as best spellers in the nineteenth annual Spelling Bee for the Hearing Impaired. The event is held annually during Disability Week.  As peers, teachers and family came out in support at the Belize Elementary Gymnasium—some expressively dialoguing in sign language—it became clear that persons with disabilities are just as intelligent as hearing persons.


Jason Solis, Crystal Brand Coordinator, Bowen & Bowen

Jason Solis

“Very special event for us; it is an event that we hold dear to our hearts and it is part of disabilities week. And so this is something that Crystal has been sponsoring every year. It is a national event. Schools from all over the country have their eliminations in their school and they come together for this one day event where you see gifted kids spelling. It is really great to watch that these kids with this disability can rise up this occasion and compete and compete on a great level.”


…And it was at an impressive level that these bright primary school students between the ages of five and fourteen competed. A total of two hundred words…but on competition day, it’s all about speed, accuracy and memory.  The spelling competition is the brainchild of the National Resource Center for Inclusive Education (NaRCIE). Manager, Earlett Thomas, told News Five about the preparations leading up to this point.


Earlett Thomas, Manager, NaRCIE

Earlett Thomas

“It’s a long process, we usually have to select the words, make sure we have a sign for the words…we do a video and distribute it to the districts. In the district they have their elimination and they bring their best candidate to participate in the spelling bee. It is extremely challenging because you know you can listen and by sound you can know to pronounce the word. But if you don’t get the sign or if you sign it wrongly, a little twitch in the hand can make a difference and then the child won’t know which word you are signing. And it is also difficult because our children, we don’t have parents who can sign. So the only time they get practice is at school except for CDI who has a residential school and they can do after school, but it is hard. And like hearing people, they can learn and listen unlike those who are deaf they have to practice, practice, practice. They have to remember the word by sight, they have to look at the pictures; they have to make some kinda relation with the word for them to be able to spell it.”


Elizabeth Shub and Brenda Coc, both of the Cayo Deaf Institute took first place for the junior and senior categories. Speaking on their behalf were their teachers who said the success was as a result of three whole weeks of intense studying of the words.



Marvin Plett, Teacher, Cayo Deaf Institute

Marvin Plett

“This is my first year in the deaf mission and the CDI and it is a pleasure to be here today; all these students so bright out here and doing their best in spelling. It’s been like three weeks since we started practicing these words and with the help from the teachers and some other help, we did good.”


Duane Moody

“You must feel excited for the fact that in the junior’s Miss Shub won and you also had second place taken by the Cayo Deaf Institute. Tell us about that and the hard work that you guys put in.”


Marvin Plett

“Well one of the guys, the girl who won is really bright. And her father was here and I love to see that her father joined in and to see that she won.”



Bowen and Bowen Limited is the main sponsor of the event and according to Crystal Brand Coordinator, Jason Solis, the prizes for the participants and the winners are no different from that provided to students living without a disability.


Jason Solis

“The prizes are mostly centered around education. We have educational packs, school bags, dictionaries for the hearing impaired. For all the contestants, we also have bicycles for both juniors and seniors and the big prize is kindles HD Fire for first place for juniors and seniors. So we are very happy to be giving those away to the winners and of course you have the trophies and medals as well.”


Duane Moody

“Congratulation to all the winners. Duane Moody for News Five.” 

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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