Monday, Jul 15, 2019
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Students excel at the spelling bee

A talented group of children competed yesterday at the 22nd Bahamas National Spelling Bee. Roy Seligman, 10, won, defeating contestants from schools across the country.

Roy is a fourth-grade student at Lyford Cay International School. He beat Kevin Williams, 11, of Yellow Elder Primary School in the final round.

“[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.”

This was Roy’s first year competing in the event. He won by spelling “queendom” correctly.

Katina Seymour, who is his coach, described the victory as “a climax of what we’ve been doing” since November 2018.

When asked about training for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 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.”

In addition to an all-expense-paid trip to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Roy won $750 in 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 represents The Bahamas at the Scripps bee in May.

At a time when there are concerns about the level of achievement of so many young Bahamians, and their involvement in criminal activity, the spelling bee is an excellent reminder that all are not lost. Many are focused, dedicated and achieving at the highest levels. They make us proud.

The Nassau Guardian is a sponsor of the spelling bee. Every year it is a pleasure to watch families support the children. That’s a significant factor behind their success.

It costs no money to care about your children’s education. It costs no money to ensure they do their homework. It costs no money to ensure academic standards are set in the home.

If more Bahamians did these things we’d have a more peaceful, productive country. The failure of our education system has just as much to do with the poor homes many children come from as it does the quality of schools.

We encourage businesses too to make donations and sponsor programs that give opportunity to young people. These positive initiatives teach skills, discipline and provide opportunities that change lives for the better.

Congratulations to Roy. We wish him all the best representing The Bahamas in Washington.

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