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Jibunoh, Dunkwu with the winners

Winners emerge in Mandela Gardens & Lodges Spelling Bee competition

Jibunoh with winners displaying certificates
Jibunoh, Dunkwu with the winners

Maxim Uzoatu

Royal Miral College and Epic Nursery/Primary School are the winners of the Nelson Mandela Gardens and Lodges Spelling Bee competition 2022.

The two schools defeated well over 20 competitors from public and private primary and secondary schools in Asaba, the Delta State capital that participated in the competition. The participants were tested in knowledge of spelling in all subjects and various fields.

In the final round for three secondary schools held in Asaba, Royal Miral College beat Young Achievers Model School and Victory Baptist School to second and third places.

The school went home with the N100,000 first prize, courtesy of Nelson Mandela Gardens, while the two runners-up went home with N50,000 courtesy of Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE) Africa, and N25,000, courtesy of Senator Stella Omu respectively.

In the primary school category, Epic Nursery/Primary School beat Prowess Nursery/Primary School to second place and thus won the N100,000 prize money courtesy of Mandela Gardens, while the runner-up won N50,000 courtesy of FADE Africa.

The Permanent Secretary, Government House/Protocols, Rotarian Edwin Ogidi-Gbegbaje said the important competition has confirmed that efforts to revive reading habit was yielding fruits especially when growing up.

He commended the students’ proficiency in the knowledge of English Language, particularly spelling, vocabulary and also their schools for taking teaching of diction seriously. He added that the competition would elicit positive interest among children and youths, and also encourage them to take up careers in some of the various professions highlighted.

While encouraging the organizers, Mandela Gardens and Lodges, to sustain the programme, he pleaded with the company to encourage the students to participate by inviting additional schools, stating that a winner and loser must emerge.

“While losers should not be frustrated,” he stressed that “winners must see it as a ‘no victor no vanquished’ competition.”

Hon Pally Eghove, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Social Works, urged parents to interact with their children by investing in their future as it was the duty of both parents and their formal school teachers to teach them.

Eghove said schools and offices should implement the policy of government that English Language and phonetics should be spoken and adopted in schools as a way of helping the young ones to grasp the language.

Omu Anioma, HRM Obi Martha Dunkwu, expressed her joy, saying: “I must say I am impressed with the performance of these students. While I was listening to them, I had internal joy that they could do so well. I want to thank the organizers of the Spelling Bee Competition for reawakening the consciousness. The good thing is that the fear that reading habit is going into extinction is no more there.”

She added: “It is the duty of parents to encourage their children’s reading habit. That is why it is called ‘first school’. They should communicate with them in good phonetics; it also goes with strong understanding of words and their spellings.”

Also speaking, Mr Ume Ume Ugbu,, Head, Human Resources/Admin, Asaba Airport Company, promised that the airport will be glad to support the competition every year. He said the competition would equally reveal the schools which have adequately prepared their students without paying lip service to teaching.

Earlier, Dr Newton Jibunor, Chairman, Mandela Gardens & Lodges, said the competition was aimed at making it attractive to the children. He commended the schools for keying into the project and assured that it would be a yearly competition especially to commemorate every Children’s Day.

“You can see how excited these students are competing,” Jibunoh said. “They not only understand English, they are also proficient in spelling. We are hoping to make this a yearly event. We call on government at all levels, firms and individuals to come and partner us so that the awareness and reward can get better in subsequent editions.”

The Spelling Bee competition was organized by Mandela Gardens and Lodges in collaboration with Rotary Club, Asaba Airport Company, ShopRite, Didi Museum, FADE Africa, Dubic Malt and others.

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