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Jun 8, 2007

Santa Elena student is champion speller

Story PictureSince the start of the school year in September, hundreds of students and their teacher coaches have been putting in long hours, all in an effort to become the next Coca-Cola Spelling Bee Champion. Only twelve boys and girls could make it to the finals and this morning News Five’s Jacqueline Godwin travelled to Dangriga to witness the exciting conclusion.

Nicholas Pollard Jr., Marketing Mgr., Bowen/Bowen Ltd
“A great contest, I think one of the best so far. All the stimulating cultural events by the Garifuna group, the music, the drums, Delille Academy’s recital of the national anthem … a great contest.”

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
Some three hours after the thirteenth annual Coca Cola National Spelling Bee started inside the Father Marin Parish Hall in Dangriga Town, it was time to award the lucky winners. Throughout the contest, Dominique Gordon, Vionei Pott, and Orlando Lopez competed fiercely to claim the three top positions.

All Saints Primary school student Dominique Gordon is the National Story Reading Champion, an interest that helped him become the third best speller in the country.

Dominique Gordon, 3rd place winner
“I was very nervous. I felt that I was going to faint, but I still think I was ready.”

Jacqueline Godwin
“Was it difficult?”

Dominique Gordon
“Very difficult.”

The contest was very difficult and my father, he helped me a lot of home, so I have to give thanks to him as well.”

Jacqueline Godwin
“Obviously you’re not disappointed coming in third.”

Dominique Gordon
“I was at first, but now I am over it, so that’s nothing to worry about.”

Vionei Pott of Guinea Grass Roman Catholic School claimed second, but she admits it wasn’t easy.

Vionei Pott, 2nd Place Winner
“I didn’t expect it and I am happy that I came in second and I know that I did a good job.”

“I studied hard everyday, half an hour and I talked to my teachers who helped me study.”

But the student of the day is Orlando Lopez of Santa Elena Primary. This afternoon, Lopez was exhilarated to be the 2007 Spelling Bee Champion, but also very relived that the competition is finally over.

Orlando Lopez, 1st Place Winner
“I was very nervous. I didn’t think I would win because I had some very good competitors, but I know that since I worked very hard at it I knew that I had a very good chance.”

Jacqueline Godwin
“What did you do to prepare yourself?”

Orlando Lopez
“I studied very hard and I worked very hard with my teacher, Mrs. Doreen Pastor.”

For the first time in the history of the event, the finals was not held in Belize City. According to Bowen and Bowen Limited marketing manager Nicholas Pollard Jr. circumstances beyond the company’s control forced them to change venues.

Nicholas Pollard Jr.
“The Civic Centre was in very bad shape in Belize City and it was in repairs and we didn’t see it proper at the time to continue hosting it there. And so we went and we looked at the stadium in Orange Walk and we tried that, but we had some serious acoustic problems there, so then we went looking elsewhere. So it wasn’t like we were moving it. And then we tried the U.B. stadium in Belmopan and it was very good and after we did that then the district manager said well now you got to try Dangriga. … We were barely able to get eight hundred chairs in here today, but the acoustics here were excellent.”

The competition has become one of the most popular events on the primary school calendar. As with all competitions, there have been many protests over the past decade about the rules. But organisers have managed to address those clashes effectively and fairly, an achievement credited to one team member in particular.

Nicholas Pollard Jr.
“I believe that we could not have resolved so many of the protests that we have had over the last thirteen years. I would like you to join me in giving a great applause to no other than Love F.M.’s technician William Usher.”

William Usher, Recipient, Special Award
“This is really a surprise to me. All I have done for the past years is try to do my best. This is really a surprise, thanks again Mr. Nick and the Bowen crew.”

For their winning efforts, Bowen and Bowen rewarded Orlando Lopez and Vionei Pott each a laptop computer, printer, and accessories while the Ministry of Education gave the students tuition and book scholarships. Dominique Gordon received fifteen hundred dollars, a science almanac and thesaurus, and a one year tuition and book scholarship. Jacqueline Godwin 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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