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Jun 6, 2014

10 year old is the top speller in Coca Cola National Spelling Bee

Primary school students from across the country converged on the Countryside Park in Spanish Lookout today where the twentieth annual Coca Cola National Spelling Bee competition was hosted.  A total of twelve students competed for the coveted title of champion speller and when the final word was called, a ten-year-old girl from Dangriga emerged victorious.  Duane Moody has the highlights from the competition.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The youngest student participating in the 2014 National Spelling Bee competition, ten year old Shanalene Gayap of Solid Rock Academy took top place as the best speller in 2014. Gayap was one of twelve primary schools students from every district that after several zone competitions made it to the finals. Impressively all spellers went through to the reserve round, but after two words each, Gayap, a standard four student, was the only speller to have received maximum points and was immediately crowned the best speller for 2014.


Shanalene Gayap, Winner, 2014 National Spelling Bee

Shanalene Gayap

“I feel very good and I give all the credit to the good lord.”


Duane Moody

“Was it hard for you competing? Tell us about the effort you put into it to make sure that you come out on top.”


Shanalene Gayap

“I put much effort thanks to my friends and to the school and I thank everybody for helping me and also it was kind of a challenge to make it this far and I thank the lord for everything. I feel very good that I’ve won…I have good victory and I have made it through very well.”


Duane Moody

“What advice would you give to others—because you are the youngest, ten years old up there among the rest? What advice would you give to others that would want to compete next year?”


Shanalene Gayap

“I would say never give up. Always try and try again because you never know if you might get it correct or not.”


Second place was a battle between St. Andrew’s Anglican’s Geon Codd and Isabelle Swasey of Louisiana Government School in Orange Walk.  After eight rounds Swasey took the top spot.


Isabelle Swasey, 2ndPlace, 2014 National Spelling Bee

Isabelle Swasey

“Excited, very excited.”



“How was it for you preparing for the Spelling Bee; the hours spent studying all those words?”


Isabelle Swasey

“Basically it is just each level you go, it is just more advance.”



“And what would you tell persons who want to compete next year in the Spelling Bee? How does one study to win this competition?”


Isabelle Swasey

“Well you have to dream your goal and you have to work hard for it.”


Geon Codd

Geon Codd, 3rd Place, 2014 National Spelling Bee

“I am very ecstatic about this and it has been a blessing to go very far. It was a very tight competition especially between me and the little girl that came in second, yes.”


Tamara Minto of Bowen and Bowen spoke on the competition and the prizes issued this year in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Spelling Bee.


Tamara Minto, Bowen & Bowen

Tamara Minto

“You’ve seen the magnitude that it has grown. I mean we had a packed house; there was not a seat that was empty. Amazing, amazing bunch of students. They actually, when we were going up to the reserved, everyone got their words correct. So we were a little worried because wow these kids are too great, you know. But I must say that it has been an amazing twentieth anniversary and it has only forced us to step it up a little bit more. More prizes than they had hands actually. First place got four years with Ministry of Education, but they also got an additional two years, sixth form from Belize Bank as well as an internship from Benny’s. And also from Digicell, they received a slew of other accessories from Fultec; Coca Cola of course gave Dell laptops to the first place and the school along with accessories. So I mean first place walked away well set for the next six years. Well she is in standard four so she can’t cash into those for another couple of years.”


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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