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May 24, 2002

Cayo youth captures spelling crown

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It requires months of work by students, teachers and organisers…and in the end it all boils down to the spelling of one obscure word. Jacqueline Woods reports from the City Centre.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

In the well organised eight years that the Coca-Cola Spelling Bee has been held, the event has become immensely popular. Today, at the finals, Belizean basketball star, Milton Palacio, joined the crowd at the Belize City Centre, which included students, principals, and teachers from dozens of schools.

Fidelia Cuellar, Teacher, Holy Redeemer Primary

“Well we try every year to bring our children out to the national spelling bee because we try to expose them to what it’s all about with the hope that one day we will return back as champions.”

Denise Neal, Teacher, St. Martin De Porres Primary

“For the experience. Spelling is very important and they need to learn that. They are exposed to it…unfortunately for St. Martin’s we didn’t make it this year for the semi-finals, but these children have potential, St. Martin’s students are bright and we will begin to prepare them for next year.”

Twelve students representing all six districts competed in the finals. At the end of four rounds the Cayo and Belize Districts were on top.


“The official results indicate that in this year’s Coca-Cola National Spelling Bee finals 2002 second place goes out to Our Lady of Lourdes school in Maskall, Anita Zetina. And the champion, first place goes out to Santa Elena RC School’s Egbert McKoy.”

Egbert McKoy, 2002 Coca Cola Spelling Bee Champion

“I studied very hard, I got a lot of words from the dictionary.”

Jacqueline Woods

“At any time were you nervous?”

Egbert McKoy

“Yes, during the reserve list.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Why, because the words get a little more difficult?”

Egbert McKoy

“Yeah, because the words get more difficult.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Were you surprised that you topped everyone today?”

Egbert McKoy

“No, I wasn’t surprised because I was studying hard.”

Manuel Medina, Principal, Santa Elena Primary

“From this morning we came very optimistic. We knew that the little boy has talent, and we knew that we would be if not in the first, second, but we were in the first.”

Anita Zetina, 2nd Place, 2002 Coca Cola Spelling B

“I studied every day.”

Jacqueline Woods

“who helped you to study?”

Anita Zetina

“My parents and my teacher.”

Each year Bowen and Bowen works to improve the competition and make the event more attractive to primary schools. Sales and Marketing Manager, Nicholas Pollard junior, says they have been encouraged by the continued support the schools have given to the game.

Nicholas Pollard Jr., Sales/Marketing, Bowen and Bowen

“We are seeing a much more competitive spirit among the schools. We had a much bigger turnout this year, so we are very happy with the results.”

As organisers work toward raising the level of the game, there are plans to adapt some of the rules in the Howard Scripps International Spelling Bee for the 2003 competition.

David Craig, Supervisor, Bowen and Bowen Limited

“We didn’t know about their rules when we adopted our rules. So our rules are really fi we rules, but we want to try and adopt some of their rules so that the winner for next year can possible attend the contest.”

All participants in today’s competition received gifts, while the winners walked off with computers and accessories. Reporting for News 5, Jacqueline Woods.

Another highlight of the day was the school banner competition. It was won by Libertad school in the Corozal District.

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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