JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Sixty-three-year-old Lenworth Wright from Trelawny created history after winning the 2016 National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) Spelling Bee championship.
  • He topped the group of 14 finalists after correctly spelling the word ‘liaise’.
  • He intimated his love for spelling, a passion he has had since childhood, pointing out that in school, “I was always a top speller”.

Sixty-three-year-old Lenworth Wright from Trelawny created history after winning the 2016 National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) Spelling Bee championship.

In winning the annual tournament during the final at the St. Andrew Parish Church hall in Kingston on September 15, Mr. Wright earned the distinction of being the first male to do so since the competition’s inception in 2004

He topped the group of 14 finalists after correctly spelling the word ‘liaise’.

Second and third place went to Stephanie Taylor from St. Thomas and Sylveena Smith from Clarendon, respectively.

Seventy-six-year-old Sheila Kerr, who represented St. Andrew and placed 12th, was the oldest competitor.

Mr. Wright told JIS News that he was encouraged to enter this year’s competition by a relative, and commenced preparations in July.

He intimated his love for spelling, a passion he has had since childhood, pointing out that in school, “I was always a top speller”. Mr. Wright said based on this and his preparations, he was confident of winning.

“What I did was to write all the words from A-Z in a book and I completed about three to four books; and after that I was ready,” he shared.

Meanwhile, Mr. Wright expressed appreciation for the NCSC’s work in keeping its members active and engaged, and urges more males to join the organisation.

Acting NCSC Parish Organiser for Trelawny, Lloydia Williams, told JIS News that based on her interactions with Mr. Wright, she knew he would win.

“He was very confident. So I did not doubt that he would have done a really good job. I felt that he was ready, and based on what I had seen from the practice matches, he was on par,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Williams is encouraging seniors to remain active, even after retirement, and join the NCSC, as they still have much to contribute to the society.

“Many persons feel that once they retire, that is it for them. But with the programmes that the Council has, it helps to give them that opportunity to be a part of something and use their brain power. Even though they are not in a formal work environment, they still can do things, and they have something to contribute to the society,” she said.

The National Spelling Bee Competition is one of several activities planned to commemorate senior citizens’ month, being observed in September under the theme ‘Showcasing our Legacy: Promoting Intergenerational Solidarity’.

The NCSC is a department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and is responsible for implementing the National Policy for Senior Citizens. It also advises the Minister on all matters concerning senior citizens’ welfare.