TAMIL SCHOOL PUPIL HEADS FOR FINALS
Girl, 12, relies on NST, books to boost her command of the English language
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