Pupils in the Chris Hani District participated in the annual district intermediate phase spelling bee at Gali Thembani Youth Centre recently.
The 15 pupils who took part spelt words to earn a spot in the provincial spelling bee to be held in East London on Saturday. Sibulele Ntshenu from Thembelihle Public Primary School was announced the overall winner and will represent the district at the event.
Senior education specialist Gaynor Rittles said the spelling bee helped pupils to expand their vocabulary. “It is important because it is the building blocks of reading. Good spellers are normally good readers, good readers become good writers and good debaters. They excel in many aspects in the sphere of languages. It is good to expose them to words in the intermediate phase. We use words that are in the curriculum in all the content subjects. The spelling bee enables them to communicate at all levels and to use a wide range of vocabulary when they communicate. We are planting that seed for pupils to love reading.”
Rittles said the competition got tougher every year and although the district had never won they were trying their best to bring a title home. “We participate yearly and the competition, at the district level, has grown, with more schools showing interest. This year all six circuits participated which I think is good progress,” she said.
Adjudicator, Susan Wyngaard, indicated that the judging process was tough as all participants were well prepared. “The children did very well and we chose three of the best contenders. We first gave them a chance to warm up and started the elimination process in round two, leading to our top three winners,” said Wyngaard
Lavela Kula from Thembelihle and Mbalentle Sosanti from Usenathi Primary School in Sterkstroom were among the top three pupils in the competition.
Thembelihle Public Primary School teacher, Maza Mahangu, said after tirelessly preparing the pupils for the competition she was overwhelmed with the results. “This requires hard work and I have seen today that it really pays off. We have been preparing on weekdays and weekends and we have worked late hours. My colleagues and other pupils at the school have rallied behind us, showing us their support. We deserved this and I am happy that they have moved this far. I am also overjoyed that one of our pupils, Lavela Kula, who was participating for the first time, was in the top three.”
Ntshenu was happy to have been placed first and proud that she would, for the first time, represent the district in the provincial competition. “I want to show my peers that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it and if you work hard toward achieving your goal.”
Usenathi Primary teacher, Veliswa Peter, said: “I feel so proud. I knew Mbalentle was going to make it. I am just disappointed that she is not going to the provincials. Preparing her for the competition was hectic, but I am happy that she is in the top three.”
The pupils were each awarded certificates for participation.