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Entertainment Fri, 29 May 2009

Nana Adjoa makes Ghana proud at Spelling Bee

Accra, May 29, GNA - Ghana's Nana Adjoa Baiden-Amissah was among the best performers on the night of the preliminary rounds of the 2009 National Spelling Bee at the Grand Hyatt Washington, but with a total score of 19 points, she could not make it to the semi-finals. A statement emailed to Ghana News Agency in Accra by the management of Essence Communications, local organisers said the spelling competition began on Tuesday with 293 competitors who qualified to compete in the Bee by winning locally sponsored bees in their home communities and countries.

The 2009 competition marked the largest field of competitors in the history of the event.

It said after an initial round one of computer based spelling tests, the 293 spellers from across the world gathered for two rounds of spelling on stage, and 13 year-old eighth grader, Nana Adjoa from Crown Prince Academy in Accra correctly spelt both words. With the cut-off point for the semi-finals fixed at a minimum 28 points and only 50 spellers targeted, Nana Adjoa and 249 others were eliminated.

"Well, I did very well... with my six maximum points from main preliminary round I could easily have made it if my score from the round one test was higher" Nana Adjoa said with a shy smile, adding very quickly "I don't have any reason to be disappointed. I spelt both words correctly and not everybody did on the day... and oh they couldn't even get the 50 people for the semi-finals."

Ms Eugenia Appiah, Country Manager of Spelling Bee Ghana, said Nana Adjoa's performance was good and an improvement on last year's performance, adding "While the organisers were expecting 50 semi-finalists, only 41 made the qualifying pass mark". Ghana is the only African country represented at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, making its second consecutive appearance at the finals.

She made history in 2008 when Maria Isabel Kubabom joined other spellers for a fun-filled one week.

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Nana Adjoa who was coached by Evangel ine Bortey, an English Teacher, was the toast of many spellers and parents in Washington, mainly because she was holding high the flag of Africa and also because of her clothing and accessories which were all adorned with the colours of the Ghanaian flag.

Though she did not make it to the semi-final, Nana Adjoa, who represented the daily EXPRESS Newspaper in Accra, was excited about the opportunity the participation offered- the fun, the joy of meeting other children to share experiences, learning many more new words and the fact that she scored 19 points far ahead of over 100 spellers. She also had the rare opportunity of meeting and a photo session with the wife of Vice President of the US, Dr Jill Biden who was a surprise guest at the finals.

Thirteen-year-old Kavya Shivashankar, sponsored by 'The Olathe News' and from California Trail Junior High School emerged the 82nd Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion, spelling the championship word 'laodicean' which means "lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics."

Finishing second in this year's competition was Tim Ruiter, a 12-year-old seventh grader representing Times Community Newspapers of Reston, Va. 13-year old Aishwarya Pastapur, representing the State Journal-Register of Springfield, Illinois was third.

Cash prizes for competitors ranged from 100 dollars to the National Champion's 30,000 dollars in addition to an engraved loving cup; a 5,000 dollars scholarship from Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation; a 2,500 dollars Savings Bond and complete reference library from Merriam-Webster; and reference materials valued at more than 2,800 dollars and the Britannica Test Prep Precocious Package valued at 799 dollars from Encyclopaedia Britannica.

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All the finalists received the 51-volume "Britannica Discover America" and the 2008 "Encyclopaedia Britannica Student Edition" DVD-ROM.

In addition, each received a commemorative watch; the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, which consists of a 100 dollars EE US Savings bond; and Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, on CD-ROM from Merriam-Webster.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is America's largest and longest-running educational promotion, administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company and 287 local spelling bee sponsors in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Department of Defence Schools in Europe; also, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, New Zealand, and South Korea. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all of their lives.

The local newspaper supporter of the Spelling Bee in Ghana is the daily EXPRESS, Ghana's first and only FREE newspaper and the competition managed by Essence Communications.

The 2009 Spelling Bee Ghana Competition headline sponsored by Indomie Instant Noodles and supported by Cowbell. The media partners for the competition were Joy FM, Junior Graphic, Radio Universe and Tv3.

Source: GNA