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Feb 13, 2014

20 years of the Coca Cola Spelling Bee

The Spelling Bee is perhaps one of the most anticipated competitions on the primary school calendar. In the yearly event, schools from across the country compete round after round until the best speller clinches the competition from a reserved list of unconventional words. It started twenty years ago and has grown into a hugely successful event. This afternoon, main sponsor, Coca-Cola, celebrated this milestone by attracting new corporate partners for the event. Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The annual Coca-Cola Spelling Bee is celebrating its twentieth anniversary and this year plans to be a banner year for the national competition.  Beginning with the addition of other corporate sponsors, including the Belize Bank, BTL, Caribbean Treasures and the Ministry of Education, the spelling contest is being billed as the biggest primary school event.  This afternoon, during a press conference, representatives of Bowen & Bowen, as well as the previously mentioned companies, were on hand to detail the expansion.


Nick Pollard,

Nick Pollard, Organizer, Coca-Cola Spelling Bee

“I can tell you today it’s well reinforced with the corporate sponsorship of Belize Bank, B.T.L., Benny Feinstein and Caribbean Treasures.  We will say that the Coca-Cola National Spelling Bee is handled when it comes to the word list it’s a very well put together process, a lot of confidentiality and transparency and we certainly have shown our strong position in handling any protest, any cases that have come before the spelling bee board and I want to assure the corporate sponsors of this.”


Sebastian Cob

Sebastian Cob, Belize District Education Center

“We want to definitely acknowledge Bowen & Bowen for partnering with the Ministry of Education over the past twenty years in such an important competition such as the spelling bee.  People might not really understand the impact of spelling bee, really it is, it has a lot of positive development on language which I think is very rich and very much needed.  If anything we want to highlight for this afternoon is basically the fact that the parents, the students and the teachers who prepare rigorously for this competition, they are the ones on the ground who really grind this machine.  Of course with Bowen & Bowen and all the other sponsors coming onboard I can assure you that this kind of tradition is something that we want to continue.”


Ray Hohenkirk

Ray Hohenkirk, Caribbean Treasures

“Spelling Bee is, in some ways, a foundation for students to be able to articulate themselves later on in life and as an employer we get applications from students even with their first degree and in some cases you could see mistakes in spelling, in terms of the resume.  So it is hope that with this spelling bee competition a lot more kids can find a way to understand and use this language to the benefit of not just themselves but to further themselves in life.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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2 Responses for “20 years of the Coca Cola Spelling Bee”

  1. LOL says:

    They should do Spelling Bee for High school students too. The amount of teens I’ve come across who has bad spelling is just disturbing.

  2. I NO HOW TO SPELL says:

    For this year Belize District finals, I really hope that they don’t get the same lady from last year who was calling out the words. That lady (no offense intended) cannot for the life of her pronounce most of the words. I was listening and the way she pronounced the words, was exactly the same way the children spelt it. So that made some of them not qualifying for the next round. Please change her. This is just my two cents

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