By Dayo Adesulu
Deafening cheers and applause enveloped the NECA hall, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on Friday, May 8 as Ohuabunwa Onyinyechi of Cherry Field College, Jikwoyi, Abuja was declared the winner of the 2015 National Spelling Bee Competition, defeating 44 other finalists to clinch the star prize of a Virgin Atlantic return ticket to the 88th Scripps Spelling Bee Competition, USA, as well as a N200,000 cash gift from Beta Malt along with other goodies from Beta Malt and Indomie Noodles.
13 year old Ohuabunwa Onyinyechi dazed at her emergence, confesed “Honestly, I never thought I would win. I am in shock. I thank God, my parents, my school, my teachers and the organizers. I am most grateful. Still can’t believe I won.” Ebojin Iyioluwa of Ladela Schools, Wuse 2, Abuja and Igboka Anita of Gudmerc High School, Abuja who won the first and second runners-up respectively, were equally excited that they could go that far as they got bountiful reward for their effort.
2015 National Spelling Bee Competition organized by the Young Educators Foundation franchise owners of Scripp National Spelling Bee Competition, USA, is indeed an asset not just to the students in Nigeria but to the teachers of participating schools, as they were privileged to get trained particularly in diction, pronunciation, tenses as well as origin of words.
The Trainers are revered scholars and certified experts in this field with several years of experience from Ghana. The value added to the teachers via the intensive training is an advantage to the spellers, as their teachers are expected to have taken them through the rudiments which will naturally boost their confidence for the competition. It was indeed a great challenge getting the 15 finalists from each of the participating States namely; Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Lagos and Oyo. After the preliminaries, the best from the participating schools was presented for the states finals from where the 45 finalists emerged for the grand finale.
The competition aimed at selecting the best from the best was tension soaked, confidence was broken, panic, fear and stage fright enveloped the venues It was a pot pourrie of disappointment and elation characterized by tears of joy and sadness as many lost out in the early rounds whilst others got rewarded.
Mrs. Eugenia Tachie-Menson, Country Director yef said “I am impressed by the capacity and conduct of Spellers . More importantly I am glad that the process was transparent and the winner is indeed deserving of the victory she earned. My sincere appreciation goes to the parents, proprietors and teachers for their co-operation. This whole event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors Beta Malt, Indomie Noodles, Virgin Atlantic, Etisalat. We can’t thank them enough.