Twelve-year-old Gabriella Ellis of the Delhi Public School (DPS) in Tema placed 1st runner-up after over 12 hours of gruelling competition at the grand finale of this year’s annual National Spelling Bee contest, which was held at the Accra International Conference Center on Saturday, February 5.
Gabriella lost the ultimate prize – consisting of an enticing all-expense paid trip to Washington DC to represent the country at the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee (courtesy South African Airways), GH¢10,000 scholarship from Indomie, headline sponsors, GH¢10,000 Ecobank Junior Saver account, a glistening trophy, a Mariam Webster Dictionary, Blue Knights Bookshop vouchers, a DSTV decoder and other assorted prizes – to Lily M. Tugbah of Solidarity International School in Ashaiman.
Ewoenam Afetsi, 13, representing SOS Hermann Gmeiner School, placed third. For her prize, Gabriella Ellis received a DSTV decoder and an all-expense paid trip to the DSTV headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa (courtesy South African Airways), Blue Knights Bookshop vouchers and an assortment of prizes from other sponsors.
Speaking to the media after the competition, excited Gabriella disclosed how fulfilled she was to have come that far after she had failed to qualify for the National Finals last year.
“Everyone who comes here looks to be the ultimate winner, but I’m also proud of myself for coming this far,” she underscored.
All the nine other colleagues of Gabriella made it to Round 3 of the competition, which also involved an earlier written vocabulary test, as well as an oral round which came off at the Christ the King School in Accra.
Adam Koray Seidu, 11 years old; Akshaya Lakshika, 9; Dhirhaj Sahijwani, 12; Jeet Thakwani, 10 and Raj Thakwani, 10, advanced to Round 4 of the contest.
Both Adam and Raj emerged among the top 10 spellers at the event, cementing the school’s place as one of the best-performing institutions in the competition.
Raj, who made his debut showing at the finals, disclosed that he’s satisfied with his achievement, and looks forward to an improved performance next year.
Mother of Adam Koray Seidu, who was elated at her son’s improvement from last year (he was in the top 20), admitted that it had not been a rosy road to the top 10 spot.
“I feel really good…just that it’s been a lot of very hard work,” she said.
The glamorous 10th anniversary of the Spelling Bee, which was moderated by Joy FM’s Nathaniel Attoh, was graced by esteemed personalities, including Robert Jackson (US Ambassador to Ghana), Efua Ansah (last year’s winner and the country’s first finalist at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington DC), former Deputy Tourism Minister, Dzifa Gomashie; the Spelling Bee Team from the U.S; ace broadcasters Nana Ansah Kwao IV; Kafui Dey and Nhyira Addo.
Officials for this year’s event were William Nii Teiko Evans-Anfom (head judge), Nancy Keteku (pronouncer), Joyceline Coleman (pronouncer), Juliet Amoah (associate pronouncer), Apiokor Seyiram Ashong (associate pronouncer), Francis Doku (judge), Stella Kankam (judge), Evangelina A. Odue (national coach) and Emmanuel S. Afful (deputy national coach).
Mr. Mukesh Thakwani, Director of DPS International, Ghana congratulated teachers and management of the school for the training and knowledge they are imparting into the children and assured the school and Ghanaians that DPS International, Ghana will continue to invest in providing its learners with world class education that walks the extra mile.