Ten-year-old Lyford Cay International School student Roy Seligman emerged victorious at the 22nd Bahamas National Spelling Bee at Atlantis yesterday, beating competitors by spelling “queendom” correctly.
This was Roy’s first year participating in the event.
The win came in the 15th round, after almost two and a half hours of competition.
“[It feels] amazing,” said Roy, clutching his first-place trophy.
He added: “I trained hard and I studied lots of words. [Yesterday], I reviewed words… I took some breaks to let the words sink in and then I went back to work.”
Roy said “scrapple” was the hardest word he was asked to spell during the competition.
“I was confused on that one,” he said.
Roy’s mother, Nuala Seligman, said she did not expect yesterday’s win.
“I’m so proud and in a state of shock,” she said.
“I can’t even believe it. He was working hard from the beginning of the process. He had very stiff competition. We were not expecting, we were not expecting to be placed at all. He worked consistently, but he had good luck and others had bad luck. At the end of the day, it comes down to luck.”
Seligman said the entire experience has been “nerve-racking for days”, but her family is excited to cheer for Roy in Washington, D.C.
In addition to an all-expense-paid trip to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., Roy won $750 spending money, a laptop, a one-year subscription to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award ($100 U.S. savings bond), a watch and a laptop.
Roy said he is excited to meet the other spellers when he goes to represent The Bahamas at the Scripps bee in May.
Katina Seymour, who is Roy’s coach, described the victory as “a climax of what we’ve been doing” since November 2018.
When asked how training will be in preparation for Washington, D.C., she said, “We’re going to continue what we’ve been doing. We met every morning, literally every morning, for the last three or four months; in the afternoons as well and we also did weekend sessions.”
While she said training will be rigorous, Seymour said she doesn’t intend on having it so intense that Roy loses his joy for spelling.
Kevin Williams, 11, a fifth-grade student at Yellow Elder Primary School, took home second place, and Arjun Shetty, 13, an eighth-grader at Queen’s College, won third place.
Both Kevin and Arjun will accompany Roy to Washington.
Twenty-four youngsters participated in the event. The Nassau Guardian is a sponsor of the spelling bee.