Pupils of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture’s (IITA) International School emerged first and fifth in the Spelling Bee competition held at Grace School, Lagos on Saturday.
The competition, which was organized by Grace School, Gbagada, Lagos; attracted 24 schools across Nigeria with two representatives from each school. Oluwatomisin Akeredolu, Grade 5, came first and Foluke Babatunde-Lawal, Grade 4, took fifth position. IITA School Head, Ms Carole Inniss-Palmer commended the pupils for their brilliant performance and dedicated the victory to Mrs. Vivian Okwuosa, Grade 2 class teacher, who trained the students for the competition.
Dr Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director for Partnerships and Capacity Development congratulated the pupils and the school management for making IITA proud.
“Their performance is a clear testimony that our efforts towards developing capacities are yielding results,” he said.
Tomisin, who came first in the competition, extended her gratitude to her parents, class teacher, and Mrs. Okwuosa for their support. On her experience at the competition, she said, “Initially I was afraid but immediately I answered the first question, the boldness came.”
She encouraged her colleagues to be serious with their studies and confident in themselves. Mrs. Okwuosa who trained the students thanked the management of the International School for the opportunity given to her to prepare the children for the Spelling Bee competition.
Narrating her experience before and during the competition, Mrs. Okwuosa said, “I believed so much in those children despite the fact that it was their first experience… Initially it was not very easy training the children to spell big words… Sometimes we had to consult the dictionary for the meaning and the pronunciation of some words.
There are some words that their pronunciations differ from the way they are written… Mastering those words was another challenge. I had to expose the children to Word Play Club. In Word Play Club, you play and you sing to make the spellings sink and be part of the children.”
According to her, the culture of reading being promoted by the school was what really helped the children. She urged the children to cultivate the habit of reading.
“Reading does not kill, it only makes one strong academically,” she said. Mrs. Okwuosa advised parents to expose their children to reading. “Put a dictionary before them and let them check the meaning of words,” she said.