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12-year-old Wins Spelling Bee After Eight Attempts

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Thursday, April 28th, 2016
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The-Spelling-BeeTwelve-year old Ruth Ejims was one lucky girl last Friday.  The JSS2 pupil of Shalom College, Port Harcourt, emerged winner of this year’s The Spelling Bee competition, the Nigerian franchise of Sripps Spelling Bee of Washington DC, after misspelling her championship words about eight times.

The battle for the winner dragged from the 11th round, when Ruth would have won had she spelt the championship word correctly, to the 23rd round, when she was finally able to spell the word Gagaku, a word of Japanese origin, which means elegant music.

Ruth beat 10-year old Tirenioluwa Adedipe of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State and Daniel Ogwala of Aladumo International School, Port Harcourt, to second and third places respectively.

The 49 contestants that started the competition held at the NECA House, Agidingbi, Ikeja, had to spell tough words like ‘gnathonic’, ‘juglone’, ‘sauerbraten’, ‘scherzo’ among others, with German, English, Italian, Greek, Indian and other origins.

Apart from her N250, 000 cash award, a trophy for her school, and N100, 000 for her coach, Ruth won a trip to be a guest representing Africa at the Scripps Spelling Bee competition in Washington DC, United States – with $500 shopping allowance.  She also got prizes from the major sponsor of the competition, Beta Malt, which include N200, 000 scholarship, a year’s supply of Beta Malt, Ambassador of the brand for the year and six month’s supply of Beta Malt for her school.

For coming second, Tirenioluwa got N150, 000, a week’s trip of the Harlow premises of Pearson Dictionary in the United Kingdom, and N50, 000 for her coach, while Daniel won N100, 000, a trophy for his school and N25,000 for his coach.

Last year’s winner, Onyinye Ohuabunwa, advised Ruth to enjoy her new found fame and continue to aim for bigger goals in life, after she dressed her in her Speller of the year satchel.

Ejims, who aspires to be a paediatric neurosurgeon, said, after she was declared winner: “I feel great, honoured and speechless. It is all about hard work that paid off, because I studied hard. I had been reading the dictionary long before I knew about the competition and I got the nickname of walking dictionary in my school. It took me only one week to prepare for this competition, because we were informed very late about it. My English teacher, Miss Mercy, who I call the best in the world, was very helpful all though my preparation. My parents were also very encouraging. But reading is my passion.”

Country-Director of The Spelling Bee, Mrs Eugenia Tachie-Menson said the competitors  made it to the finals after winning in their respective states. She said its aim is to help pupils discover their talents and enjoy learning.

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