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Apr 8, 2005

Belize District spelling finalists chosen

Story PictureThis afternoon district eliminations in the eleventh annual Coca-Cola Spelling Bee got underway in front of a packed audience inside the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall. It was a quick and exciting afternoon, and as usual, the children were well prepared.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
A total of eighteen students representing various primary schools from both the rural and urban areas competed to represent the Belize District in the national competition. Bowen and Bowen Sales Manager, Nicholas Pollard, Junior, says considering that most of the children were out of school for about two weeks in March because of the Belize National Teachers Union strike, he was pleasantly surprised to see the children had used the time wisely.

Nicholas Pollard Jr., Sales Mgr., Bowen & Bowen
?When the zone eliminations were coming up we had the strikes and the students were not in school and we were worried that they would not have been prepared, but only the Belize District was set back a couple of weeks sometime around early March. But from the results we saw in the zone eliminations, we think the students were well prepared. I believe that many of them stayed home during the strike and they studied and they prepared. What we saw is less students falling at the second round and going on to the reserve and I am expecting the same today. I am expecting that at the end of the second round that the majority of students will still be contesting at the first round of the reserve list.?

In the past each contest took several hours to end and it was rather tiring for contestants. So a decision was made to move things a little faster this year.

Nicholas Pollard, Jr.
?We eliminated the third round because it was taking too long. I think that the first, second, and third rounds were the same, where in each round the students got three words to spell, so when we eliminated the third round and it really didn?t take away from the contest. Actually, what I think it did, it didn?t labour the contestants as long as they were up there.?

At the end of the Belize District spell off, twelve year olds Jasmine Lewis and Ashley Gillett emerged as first and second place winners.

Jacqueline Woods
?Was there any time you became nervous??

Jasmine Lewis, Student, Hattieville Govt. School
?At the fourth round.?

Jacqueline Woods

Jasmine Lewis
?Because it was the reserve list and words that I had never seen or heard, so I got nervous at first.?

Ashley Gillett, Student, Holy Redeemer School
?It was when I was competing with Jasmine. I was very, very nervous when I was getting my first word and I did not spell it correct.?

On May twentieth, Lewis and Gillett will once again meet to compete along with finalists from the other districts for the national title.

Jasmine Lewis
I am looking forward to that by studying hard, doing my best and go out there and have fun.?

Ashley Gillett
?I am very proud, a bit disappointed because I didn?t come in first, but she tried hard and she was very good in spelling those words and I guess I just couldn?t spell those words that I got. So I congratulate her and I am looking forward to competing with her in the nationals.?

Both young ladies say they studied hard, but if it was not for the help of some very special people they may not have succeeded.

Jasmine Lewis
?I studied very hard with the encouragement of my family, friends, teachers, and other guys.?

Ashley Gillett
?Well my teacher, Mister Cal, he drilled me every evening?most evenings actually. And I also studied at home and my mother was very helpful, my mother and my father. In fact, my whole family and all of my classmates and the whole school were very supportive and motivating.?

Both Lewis and Gillett received trophies, dictionaries, and almanacs.

The students competing in the Coca-Cola Spelling Bee all have their eyes on the grand prizes, which include computers for the first and second place winners and the first place winning school. The Ministry of Education is also providing a four-year book scholarship for the first place national winner and trophies. A fifteen hundred dollar educational award will be given to the third place winner. The District Finals continue next week when students will compete to represent the Stann Creek and Toledo districts in May’s National Competition.

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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