TAMIL SCHOOL PUPIL HEADS FOR FI­NALS

Girl, 12, re­lies on NST, books to boost her com­mand of the English lan­guage

New Straits Times - - News - AH­MAD FAIRUZ OTH­MAN SEGAMAT news@nst.com.my

SEKO­LAH Je­nis Ke­bangsaan Tamil Ladang Segamat Year Six pupil Aiswariya Para­sur­a­man re­lies on the New Straits Times to im­prove her vo­cab­u­lary and strengthen her com­mand of the English lan­guage.

As a fi­nal­ist who will be rep­re­sent­ing Jo­hor in the pri­mary school cat­e­gory of the RHB NST Spell-It-Right (SIR) na­tional challenge on Oct 21, the 12-year-old is spend­ing hours pick­ing out words in the news­pa­per and study­ing spell­ing rules and mean­ings.

“My English teacher, Di­nesh Nair R.N. Atchuthan, is help­ing me with the prepa­ra­tions. I read the NST and books ev­ery day to learn new words, and I study the mean­ings of the words and spell­ing rules,” said Aiswariya, who is the youngest of four sib­lings.

Mak­ing it through the com­pe­ti­tion’s pre­lim­i­nary and state rounds was a dream come true for the girl.

She never ex­pected to emerge as the state cham­pion in the pri­mary school cat­e­gory as she joined the com­pe­ti­tion only af­ter find­ing out about the on­line method of par­tic­i­pat­ing from her teacher.

She was among three pupils from her school who took part in the pre­lim­i­nary com­pe­ti­tion, which was con­ducted on­line.

“I’m nervous about go­ing to the fi­nals. I’m not set­ting high ex­pec­ta­tions, but I do hope for the best. I’m only set­ting a tar­get for sec­ond place,” said Aiswariya, whose am­bi­tion was to be­come a doc­tor.

Di­nesh said de­spite the challenge of us­ing English as a sec­ond lan­guage, Aiswariya and two other Year Six pupils from the school did well in the state challenge.

“All three pupils, in­clud­ing Aiswariya, were among the top 100 scor­ers in the pri­mary school cat­e­gory in the Jo­hor-level challenge. Aiswariya scored 9 or 10 out of 15 in the pre­lim­i­nary round, but she man­aged to do bet­ter in the state challenge.”

Di­nesh said he was proud of the pupils’ achieve­ments be­cause it showed they could com­pete with other stu­dents na­tion­wide, es­pe­cially in terms of their com­mand of English.

“SJKT Ladang Segamat is a ru­ral school and most pupils don’t use English as much as their mother tongue. We have only 38 pupils, and it is a big thing when one of our pupils do well in a na­tional-level com­pe­ti­tion.”

Jo­hor fi­nal­ist for the secondary school cat­e­gory, SMK Per­mas Jaya Form Five stu­dent, Tyra Jo­hanna Ridza­hud­din, 17, is nervous about the prospect of go­ing up on stage to com­pete with 13 other fi­nal­ists in the challenge.

Shy by nature, she de­cided to take part in the challenge be­cause of its changed for­mat in which the pre­lim­i­nary and state rounds were con­ducted on­line.

“I’ve been watch­ing the SIR challenge ev­ery year on tele­vi­sion and on YouTube, but I never took part be­cause the words given to par­tic­i­pants were dif­fi­cult, and I didn’t want to go on stage with so many peo­ple watch­ing me be­cause I’m shy.

“But the new on­line for­mat for pre­lim­i­nary and state-level rounds had mo­ti­vated me to give it a shot,” said Tyra, whose am­bi­tion was to be­come an an­i­ma­tor and cited the Fi­nal Fantasy game and anime se­ries as among her favourites.

Aiswariya Para­sur­a­man mak­ing prepa­ra­tions for the RHB NST Spell-ItRight challenge at her school in Segamat on Thurs­day. PIC BY AH­MAD IS­MAIL (In­set) Tyra Jo­hanna Ridza­hud­din

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