Elias Zetina of New Horizon SDA and Jannelie Mas of Caye Caulker RC are Zone 5’s top Spellers
Friday, February 21st, 2014
The 20th National Coca Cola Spelling Bee is underway with district zone eliminations throughout the country. The Belize District Zone five eliminations, which entails Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, took place on Friday February 24th at the San Pedro Lions Den. 14 students from seven primary schools took their opportunities to test their spelling ability but in the end, Elias Zetina of New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) School took the top honors for the zone.
The Spelling Bee competition is an annual collaborative educational effort conducted jointly between Coca Cola franchise in Belize, Bowen and Bowen Limited, and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Started in 1994, the competition has evolved over the past 20 years and is one of the biggest educational competitions, attracting students from all private and public schools in the country. In fact, the competition have been divided into zones, and according to Miriam Codd, District Educational Officer for Belize Rural South, it is the 14th consecutive Zone Elimination held between island schools. This year the national competition is being held under the theme “Go for the Goooal” which coincides with the year of the Football World Cup scheduled for later this year in Brazil.
The contestants in the Belize District Zone five included Brandon Worthington and Yaire Castaneda from Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES), Jannelie Mas and Daniela Novelo from Caye Caulker Roman Catholic Primary School (CCRC), Jessica Saki and Kirany Caal from Holy Cross Anglican School (HCAS), Juliannie Rivero and Ashley Minott from Isla Bonita Elementary School (IBES), Derrick Clark and Elias Zetina from New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School (NHSDA), Rachel Alamilla and Natalia Arias from San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School (SPRC) and Nicole Ritchie and Jackson Leslie from The Island Academy.
The competition went into five rounds before a first, second and alternate speller was selected. At the end of round two, seven students advanced to the third round, in which the officials used the reserve list of words. The students all got two words to spell and using scrap papers and pencils, they had the opportunity to listen to pronunciations of the word, get the origin of the word, as well as have the pronouncer used it in a sentence before spelling it.
At the end of the third round, two students had equal points for the first and second place spot, while three students had the same points to qualify as the alternate speller. A fourth round was necessary to select the alternate speller first, and thereafter the first and second place spellers. After a hard fought fourth round, Rachel Alamilla emerged as the alternate speller for Zone five after correctly spelling the word “polygon.”
Jannelie Mas of Caye Caulker RC School advanced to the final round with her correct spelling of the word “cholesterol” while Elias Zetina advanced with his correct spelling of the word “Brigadier.” The remaining two spellers went into a “sudden death” round, at which point Mas incorrectly spelled the word “hyena,” while Zetina correctly spelled the word “analogous”.
Zetina took the first place while Mas settled for second and Alamilla was named as the alternate speller for Zone five. The first and second place spellers advanced to the Belize district final which is scheduled for April 28th at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium in Belize City. If for any reason, Mas or Zentina is unable to make it to the District final, Alamilla would take the vacant spot.
At the end of the competition, all the participants received an official Spelling Bee T-shit while the two top spellers received a trophy each. Congratulations to all participants for a job well done and The San Pedro Sun wishes the two top spellers all the best as they prepare for the District Elimination.