Roy Seligman wins Bahamas National Spelling Bee

Ten-year-old Lyford Cay International School student Roy Seligman emerged victorious yesterday for the second year in a row by spelling “theatricality”, during the 23rd Bahamas National Spelling Bee at Atlantis resort.

This was Seligman’s second year competing in the event.

His win came during the 17th round after more than three-and-a-half hours of competition.

“I feel very relieved because I studied very hard, because I know I had great competitors,” Seligman told The Nassau Guardian.

Asked if he was nervous when faced with the winning word, he replied, “No, because I had seen it, so, I knew it.”

Roy said he studied at least two hours per day leading up to the national spelling bee.

“My mom would call the words to me,” he said.

“We would make lists of them and I would study the roots and origins.”

His mother, Nuala Seligman, said the training for the competition was “less intense for him because he’s involved in a lot of other things”.

“[H]e knuckled down and obviously did very well,” she said.

She described this year’s competition as “more nerve-racking the second time around”.

In addition to an all-expense-paid trip to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., 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), and a reception at the Bahamian embassy in Washington, D.C.

Roy said he plans to make his training “more intense” in preparation for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

He represented The Bahamas at Scripps last year.

Roy placed 51st at the event, according to his mother.

Katina Seymour, who is Roy’s coach, said Roy will focus more on vocabulary development leading up to Scripps.

“Mom and I work together,” she said.

“It’s a super, super, super partnership team. So, we’re going to continue, now, to revise our schedule. One of the things that we’re going to heavily focus on as we get ready for Washington is vocabulary development.

“We found that that made a huge difference between those who were spelling phonetically and those who were just memorizing from lists.

Bahamas National Spelling Bee winner Roy Seligman (center) with second place winner Gabriel Ajul (left) and third place winner Maria Sanchez. 

“Vocabulary has to be a predominant feature, so that’s where we’re going to put some emphasis once we get back to school and get back to the trenches for the next competition.”

Gabriel Ajul, 11, a seventh-grade student at Exuma Christian Academy, took home second place; and Maria Sanchez, 11, a sixth-grader at St. Anne’s School, was third.

Both Ajul and Sanchez will accompany Seligman to Washington.

There were 22 participants in the event. Abaco was not represented as a result of Hurricane Dorian.

The Nassau Guardian is a sponsor of the spelling bee.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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