Makella wins 2016 Col­gate Na­tional Den­tal Spelling Bee Com­pe­ti­tion

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Last year, the Col­gate Na­tional Den­tal Spelling Bee Cham­pion came from the Pier­rot Com­bined School and this year, the win­ning spree re­mains in the south of the is­land. Mekella Popo, a pe­tite Grade 3 stu­dent from the Mi­coud Pri­mary School walked away as the new cham­pion in the 2016 Col­gate Na­tional Den­tal Spelling Bee Com­pe­ti­tion.

The ex­cited third grader said, “I feel elated to­day, happy and over­whelmed.”

The fi­nals of the Com­pe­ti­tion was held last Friday at the Co­conut Bay Ho­tel, in Vieux Fort, where eight par­tic­i­pants each rep­re­sent­ing their ed­u­ca­tional dis­trict com­peted very keenly for the grand ti­tle.

Ahead of the event, one of the ar­chi­tects of the com­pe­ti­tion, An­gella Mariat, of the Cur­ricu­lum and Ma­te­ri­als Devel­op­ment Unit (CAMDU) ap­pealed to teach­ers and par­ents to give the young stu­dents op­por­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate and dis­pel the fear of what she termed “lit­tle chil­dren spelling big words.”

“The Min­istry is so grate­ful when cor­po­rate spon­sors come in to as­sist. And I'm say­ing to you teach­ers that are the only op­por­tu­nity that chil­dren get in or­der to win prizes, won­der­ful prizes. And so, we are in­deed grate­ful for the as­sis­tance of Col­gate and the other cor­po­rate part­ners, we are grate­ful for what you have done for the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. Trust me, that's what the stu­dents will re­mem­ber when they leave school, un­less they had a ter­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence. They will re­mem­ber tak­ing part in these com­pe­ti­tions,” Mariat said.

The cham­pion's teacher, Bren­da­line Gon­zague says Mekella is an ex­em­plary stu­dent who brings much ex­cite­ment and high ex­pec­ta­tions to the class and the school.

The sup­port of the par­ents is ab­so­lutely cru­cial cited the young stu­dent's mom. Makella's mom said “When I spoke to her teacher about her love for words and her love for books she men­tioned the Spelling Bee and soon after, she was cho­sen as one of the chil­dren to pre­pare for the com­pe­ti­tion. She even­tu­ally won among her­self. Ever since then, I've worked with her at home, every morn­ing dur­ing prepa­ra­tion for school, I'd be run­ning around and call­ing ‘brux­ism” and with every word, I gave her many dif­fer­ent pos­si­ble pro­nun­ci­a­tions, just in the event that the word was pro­nounced dif­fer­ently, so that she would know ex­actly what word it was.”

Col­gate Brand Man­ager Betty-Forde in­formed that they are the main spon­sors of the com­pe­ti­tion, which is now into its sixth year and with grow­ing sup­port from An­chor, Farmer's Choice. She in­di­cated her com­pany's plea­sure work­ing with the Min­istry of Health and Ed­u­ca­tion in or­der put smiles on the faces of the chil­dren of St. Lucia.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions, I think you all did very well. I think you are all very de­serv­ing of be­ing a part of these fi­nals. You have proven that and so on be­half of Col­gate I want to wel­come all of you here to­day. Thank you for par­tic­i­pat­ing”

The sec­ond and third place win­ners re­spec­tively are Shane Nar­cisse of the St. Aloy­s­ious RC Boys Pri­mary and Akee­lah Henry of the Soufriere Pri­mary school.

Makella was over­whelmed by her latest achieve­ment as she spelled her way to the top!

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