After several hours of fierce competition with an elimination process, the two students battled it out in a nerve-wracking final round of the championship.
A 13-year-old 8th grade pupil, Malav Daftary spelled the word ‘akimbo’ correctly to earn title of the regional champion.
Aarna Tailor, 7-year-old Class pupil grader was the first runner-up, while Shirangi Chandanchede, 10, was the second runner-up. This will be their first time making it to the finals of the South Asian Spelling Bee, regional level.
The winners received certificates, trophies and cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100, respectively after their outstanding performances which attracted huge applause from the gathering. B5 Plus Limited, the leading steel manufacturing company in West Africa is also sponsoring the two finalists’ air tickets to participate in the global South Asian Spelling Bee championship.
The global competition will be another stage where the brightest and best compete, tackling words most of audience don’t even know the meaning of.
Per a positive turnout, the event attracted top talents as well as young and new spellers that competed for the coveted prizes and titles for the first time.
Parents who witnessed the regional championship noted that they are determine to see their children prosper outside the shores of Africa in the U.S, saying that “It is very gratifying and inspiring for us.”
Publicity wise, SONY Entertainment Television Asia is the exclusive broadcast partner for the South Asian Spelling Bee and will be airing the series across 120 countries.
This spelling competition only is open to any student between the ages of 8 and 14, who is of South Asian descent, or whose lineage can be traced to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Children up to 14 years of age are eligible to participate, and the contest saw spellers as young as six years of age compete and make it past a few rounds.
The Ghana Regional South Asian Spelling Bee was conducted in written and oral plan which served as the elimination as well as the selection process for the finalists. Children had to spell over 15 words correctly to qualify for the afternoon oral round and from there the top three were awarded prize money and the top two qualified for the finals.
The event was organised by the South Asian advertising firm, Touchdown Media Inc. and sponsored by Metlife, a leading global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Mr. Mukesh V. Thakwani, Director of DPS International Ghana explained that students have become more comfortable with the concept and they are going beyond just memorising the words.
He explained that students are researching into the root of words and learning the language of origin of all the words which have boost their confidence level, adding that the South Asian Spelling Bee has unite families in his school as participants get their parents involve to teach them pronunciation of some words.
Touching on the performance of his students, he stated that his students have become really passionate about spelling, language and phonetics in order to become a successful spelling bee champion and have command of the English language.
Mr. Thakwani added that “Participants need to be passionate and set goals that they would like to achieve in spelling and this is what students of DPS International Ghana have been aiming for.”
Principal of DPS International Ghana, David Raj was optimistic that the two pupils of the school who will be participating in the global competition will bring the trophy to Ghana and Africa in general.
He mentioned that "The children here are doing very well in the spelling bee which is the longest standing competition. There is a lot of opportunity for the spelling bee culture to grow in Ghana.”
The school has won several awards in various international competitions including the World Scholars Cup which was organized at the Yale University in the United States last year.
DPSI has won the National Spelling Bee competition in Ghana for three consecutive years.
The school participated in global South Asian Spelling Bee and emerged one of top spellers. Management of the school are determine to train participants to win the ultimate trophy in USA.
From Sammy Heywood Okine