A pupil from Kenema, in the eastern region, has won this year’s individual national spelling bee competition on Tuesday at the British Council auditorium, Tower Hill, Freetown.

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Alie M. Turay, 10, who attends the KDEC Primary School, displayed a dominant performance at the finals, answering all questions directed at him during the rounds – whilst his opposing companions did not answer any questions throughout the individual spelling finals.
“It feels good and I’m very happy to win this prize. My father promised to buy me something if I win so, I’m a happy,” the jubilant best speller pupil says, beaming with a smile.

St Philips Primary School, from the Western Urban District, was also crowned as the best school in the country, after a thrilling encounter with three other schools. Church of Christ in the Western Urban District, came second whilst KDEC and FAWE, both from Kenema, took the third and fourth places, respectively.

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The preliminary rounds started late last year with 100 schools competing for the rights to participate at the grand finale in Freetown. Organisers crisscrossed the country in search of the best schools to take part in this year’s competition.

The schools were divided into Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western Rural and Western Urban regions, with each region fielding 20 schools. After a round-robin process within their respective regions, the emerging qualifiers were summoned at the British Council to compete in the finals for the prestigious award.

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In his remark, British Council country director Simon Ingram-Hill urged the participants to focus their attention in school and on their studies. “Please remember that the most important thing is to stay in school, to complete your studies, to go to university, to achieve desired goals,” he told participants..

Spelling bee master, Moses Moore Conteh, who oversaw the preliminary process and anchored the finals, says: “What thrilled me was the fact that in Sierra Leone we do not bother about pronunciation. But even when the words were pronounced according to the seventh edition dictionary, they (participants) were also able to rise to the occasion.”