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National Spelling Bee 2009 Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 11 June 2009 14:51

Christopher Castillo - Spelling Bee Champ from Our Lady of Guadelupe R.C. School Primary school students from all across the country gathered at the Belize Elementary Auditorium on Friday, June 5, to cheer on their representatives in the 2009 Coca Cola National Spelling Bee. The event was more than a competition; it was a celebration of hard work, determination and perseverance. It was the day that would determine whose dedication would result in them being crowned the 15th National Spelling Bee Champion.

At the beginning of the event, the winners of the banner competition were announced. Toledo Christian Academy won best banner, Calcutta Seventh Day Adventist School was second followed by Libertad Seventh Day Adventist School. The Spelling Bee started and the competitors took the stage. Tamara Williams of Mafredi Methodist and Denmark Jacobs of Toledo Christian Academy represented the Toledo District. Shamika Martinez of Holy Family R.C. Hopkins and Leticia Cal of Red Bank Christian represented the Stann Creek District. Christopher Castillo from our Lady of Guadelupe R.C. School and Elsie Miranda from United Evergreen Government School represented the Cayo District - both from Belmopan City. Zhanae Sutherland of Hummingbird Elementary and Aaron King of Hattieville Government School represented the Belize District. Nathanael Moh of Yo Creek Compassion and Kristy Valdez of Louisiana Government represented the Orange Walk District and Erwin Sedacy of Libertad Seventh Day Adventist and Aaron Magana of Calcutta Seventh Day Adventist represented the Corozal District.

The Belize District dominated the early years of the National Spelling Bee by winning four of the first five competitions. However, since the year 2000, the Belize District has only won once. On Friday that trend continued. The final three spellers were Erwin Sedacy and Aaron Magana of the Corozal District and Christopher Castillo of the Cayo District. The first to be eliminated of these three was Aaron Magana when he failed to correctly spell the word Hymnody. He walked away with $1,500 towards Tuition and Books, a World Atlas and Collins Spanish Dictionary from Bowen and Bowen Limited and one year tuition and book high school scholarship courtesy of the Ministry of Education.  Castillo and Sedacy entered the final round in which they were asked to spell two words each. Both failed to spell the first word correctly and their fates rested upon the second word issued. For his second word, Castillo was asked to spell Kukri, which is a Gurka knife. He spelled it on his first attempt. Sedacy was then asked to spell conscientious. He was unable to do so and Christopher Castillo was named the 2009 Coca Cola National Spelling Bee Champion.

Sedacy walked away with a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Notebook Computer, Printer and Accessories, Time for Kids Almanac, World Atlas and Collins Spanish Dictionary from Bowen and Bowen Ltd and a two year tuition and books high school scholarship from the Ministry of Education. For winning the Bee, Castillo received a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Notebook Computer, Printer and Accessories, Time for Kids Almanac, World Atlas and Collins Spanish Dictionary and a trophy. He also received a four year tuition and book high school scholarship from the Ministry of Education. His school, Our Lady of Guadalupe R.C. School in Belmopan, received a Dell Vostro Mini Tower Personal Computer, Printer and Accessories and a Trophy.

Christopher said he prepared by studying words from the Internet and about the difficulty he said, “Most of these words I already knew. I may not have studied much but I studied hard.” His advice to students who wish to participate in a future Spelling Bee is “read, read a lot.” His father, Raul Castillo, said, “It was absolutely a proud moment when I saw my son competing on that stage.” Castillo and his wife have been teachers for many years. He said that his advice to young Christopher was “Be calm, you know the words because you prepared well.” He advised parents to support their children in every endeavor and to encourage them to work hard because nothing is impossible. Christopher was the youngest participant at Eleven-years-old. He plans to attend St. John’s College in August of this year.

All nine runner ups received $300, a Certificate, World Atlas and Collins Spanish Dictionary from Bowen and Bowen Ltd. Zhanae Sutherland of Hummingbird Elementary School performed the best of the Bee participants in the Primary School Examinations. She got 370 out of 400 points.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 June 2009 15:50