WASHINGTON — Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States (US), Audrey Marks, has urged national spelling bee champion, Hanif Brown Jr., to proudly and ably represent his country in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, now under way in the US.
"I want to urge you to do your best and whether or not you win, you're an ambassador for your country," she told Hanif on Tuesday (May 31), during a courtesy call at the Embassy in Washington, DC.
He was accompanied by his father, Chairman of the St. Thomas Parish Council and Mayor of Morant Bay, Hanif Brown Sr.; coach, the Rev. Glen Archer; and Corporate Affairs and Marketing Manager of the Gleaner Company, Karin Cooper.
Ambassador Marks commended The Gleaner Company for its continued support of the national spelling bee competition and Jamaica's entry at Scripps, noting that: "The Gleaner's commitment to the spelling bee competition speaks volumes to the development of our country's youth."
She congratulated Hanif for being champion of the 2011 Gleaner Children's Own all-island competition, and also had high praise for Rev. Archer, whom, she said, has become an icon in Jamaica, and one who has demonstrated over a period of time, great commitment to the young people.
In his response, Hanif said he felt honoured and proud to represent his country in the Scripps competition and promised to do Jamaica proud. Rev. Archer said Hanif is well prepared, and he expected a great performance from him.
Ms. Cooper, for her part, stressed the Gleaner’s continued effort to help Jamaica to develop good citizens.
"If we begin with the children by getting them involved in the spelling bee competition, we will develop children who will think and reason and ultimately, we will have a better country," she stated.
Some 271 participants are vying for the top prize at the 84th Scripps National Spelling Bee championship being held at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center at the National Harbour in Maryland. The competition, which began on Sunday, will end on Friday, June 3.
Jamaica has been participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee since 1957, capturing the title in 1998 when Jody-Anne Maxwell lifted the coveted trophy.
By DERRICK A. SCOTT, JIS Reporter