Budding Spelling Prodigies Poised for Greatness

Story Highlights

  • Ms. Daughma, tells JIS News that evidence of her granddaughter’s potential dates back to when she was enrolled in basic school
  • The competition is a good thing, and we all like it in the community (because) it gives them the courage to do things. As you know, a lot of children are afraid to stand before a crowd; so the competition helps them to be bold
  • The initiative is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank; United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID); and Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

Youngsters, Kaiyala McDonald and Vashaun Wynter, of Fletcher’s Land in Kingston, are poised to potentially be among the spelling prodigies to emerge from Jamaica.
Both participated in the third staging of the Fletcher’s Land Police Youth Club’s Spelling Bee competition, which was held in 2015, where they dominated their respective categories.

Nine year old Kaiyala, a student of the Allman Town Primary School, is a two time winner of the Grade Three and Four categories, while 10-year old Vashaun, who attends St. Aloysius Primary School, copped the Grade 5 section.

Kaiyala describes the competition as “fun and uplifting.”

In highlighting the assistance she received in her preparations, Kaiyala said the competition “was just like reading a book and experiencing new words…(so) I was not surprised when I won.”

Kaiyala says she is thankful to all the persons who assisted with her preparations.
They include: father – O’Neil McDonald; mother – Keisha Williams; grandmother – Morrine Daughma; aunts – Allisa Richards and Venetia Williams; sister – Sasha Gay Shaw; teacher -Omar Marsh, “and most of all my lovely principal, Ms. Candy Lee Smith,” she tells JIS News.

Kaiyala plans to re-enter the competition in 2016, where she will participate in the Grade Five category. She also plans to join her school’s quiz team, and declares that she intends to study hard to be adequately prepared for that engagement.

Ms. Daughma, tells JIS News that evidence of her granddaughter’s potential dates back to when she was enrolled in basic school.

“From Kaiyala was a baby until now, she just stick to books, spelling, and reading; we did not even have to push her, because she is always doing spelling. Her father bought her a Spelling Bee book from she was about four years old, and that’s where it all started. So…we knew that she would do it (win),…and the family is exceptionally proud of her,” she states.

Ms. Daughma hails the competition for the level of exposure it provides the children.

“The competition is a good thing, and we all like it in the community (because) it gives them the courage to do things. As you know, a lot of children are afraid to stand before a crowd; so the competition helps them to be bold,” she contends.

The competition enabled Vashaun’s family to become more involved in his academic development, as they helped him to prepare for the engagement.
He says winning “felt great, but shocking at the same time.”

“[The boy who came second this year], last year (2014), he won when I placed second. This year (2015), he got three words wrong and I only got one; (so) I am actually surprised by that,” he shares.

Vashaun says he is eagerly anticipating the competition’s renewal this year, to participate again.

The spelling competition, which is held for youngsters aged nine to 12 who reside in Fletcher’s Land, aims to enhance their reading skills, while encouraging parents to be more integrally involved in their children’s educational development.

Additionally, it serves to enhance the relationship between the youth club and residents, through improved participation, partnership, and support.
Fletcher’s Land is one of 50 communities benefitting from activities administered under the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) in eight parishes islandwide.

A programme of the Ministry of National Security, the CSJP, currently in its third phase of implementation, promotes cultural changes that facilitate community governance and more peaceful co-existence among the participants, through activities that build knowledge and opportunities.

The initiative is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank; United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID); and Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

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