Spelling Bee finalists urged to avoid fear

The 2015 champion of the National Spelling Bee Competition, Vishal Mukesh Thakwani, has advised contestants in this year’s competition not to be anxious, ahead of the upcoming national finals.

According to the grade nine student of the Delhi Public School International (DPSI), participants should focus on practising more vocabularies rather than pay attention to the outcome of the grand finale, which comes off on Saturday, February 6, 2016.

Addressing 138 finalists selected across the country to battle for this year’s National Spelling Bee crown in Accra on Thursday, the national champion urged contestants not to despair if they fail to spell the right words.

Vishal, who pursued the Spelling Bee title for three years before he became champion, said participants should be very patient and ask relevant questions such as definition and origin of various words they are expected to spell.

Contestants were taken through various vocabulary tests and coaching at the Christ the King Hall ahead of the 9th edition of the Spelling Bee event.

Presenting some tips on the competition, he said participants should not feel too disappointed when they fail to spell the right words, adding that instead they should put in more efforts towards constant practice which would lead them to success.

“Don’t put in lots of expectation. Just learn and do your best and the best results will be achieved. Those going into the competition have to learn more and more words. And they should not have so much stress or think more about the competition,” he advised.

The defending champion who was ranked 50th in the World Spelling Bee Competition indicated that the Spelling Bee was a tough competition and that competitors had to keep learning more new words.

He also cited the need to improve on his own vocabulary while more resources must be provided for teaching and learning of the English Language.

“It’s really a good thing for me to be in the Spelling Bee. It’s the biggest competition happening in Ghana and Africa. We just have to learn more and more words,” he added.

Princess Maame Ama Mensah, a student of the Akropong School for the Blind, who was participating in the contest for the third time, said the competition contributed to her comprehension and usage of the English Language even without a dictionary.

She added that she did not feel marginalised, noting that the spelling contest had rather boosted her self-confidence.

Organisers said about 24 students are constantly making attempts each year to win the competition.

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