A 9-year old girl who won the 2017 SPELL&THRILL Competition has become the first female winner of the competition in six years. Her name is Stephanie Sangolade.
She emerged winner at the Trans-Regional Finale of the annual spelling competition held on Wednesday, 13th December, 2017 at the Main Auditorium of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Ondo State.
The brilliant lass thrilled the audience as she was finally adjudged the best among spellers in the primary category.
Stephanie is a pupil at St. Claire Catholic School, Osogbo. She attributed her success in the competition to the rigorous training and preparation by her teacher and parents.
In her words, “I studied very hard for this competition. My parents and teachers also assisted immensely. They gave me lots of words and told me to master their spellings. We faced intense competition in our school before I was selected. Each day we hold the competition, the person who scores a low mark in it is eliminated. Because I don’t want to be eliminated, I ensured I master more words.”
The primary five girl thanked the organisers of SPELL&THRILL while wishing that they continue organising it in subsequent years to promote literacy.
SPELL&THRILL is an annual spelling competition among primary and secondary school students in Nigeria. It started as a state-wide competition in Ondo State in 2012 and was expanded into a regional competition among schools in Southwestern Nigeria in 2015.
The 2013 edition was skipped thus making the 2017 edition the fifth. Participants were made to strictly abide by specific rules for them to remain in the contest right from the preliminaries to grand finale.
Its initiator, Mr Ayotunde Ikulamberu described it as a platform for students to showcase their diligence beyond the classroom environment.
“SPELL&THRILL is a platform for children to showcase their diligence outside of the classroom environment. It is where educators and students have a sort of interface outside the classroom.”
Mr Ikulamberu identified the impact of the competition as going beyond examinations in school as it develops students’ vocabulary skills, improve their reading habit, and build self-esteem and confidence, and stage composure. The competition also aims at improving the spelling skills, and academic concentration and focus of pupils and students in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.
“This initiative has developed an extra-curricular activity platform in schools today. We have been able to make sure that students are not just coming on board to cram words, but also mindful of the words, the process leading them emerging champions.”
EduCeleb.com reports that the 2017 edition is endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) due to its alignment with the Media and Information Literacy (MIL) drive of the international organisation towards integrating it into the Nigerian schools’ curriculum.
Mr Ikulamberu had noted in his speech that the UNESCO’s MIL curriculum is designed to combat propagation of hate speech, fake news, and terrorism, while fostering inter-cultural dialogue and cohesion. The curriculum is also geared towards helping teachers become more pragmatic towards their role as educators.
Oboho Michael of United African Mission Church (UAMC) School, Eleja-Pahayi, Ilaro, Ogun State was the first runner-up to Miss Sangolade. The second runner-up was Afolabi-Bakare Goodness of Comfort Tenderfeet Nursery and Primary School, Akure, Ondo State.
In the secondary school category, Pelumi Ogunsuyi of Greater Tomorrow Model College, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State won. He is closely followed by Oladapo Ayomikun of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State who was the first runner-up.
For the first time in the history of the competition, the position of second-runner up was won by two individuals. It was a fierce battle of wits between Samuel Adeyeye of Divine Grace High School, Ilesa, Osun State and Joy Olunleye of Bofoat Model International College, Ugbe – Akoko, Ondo State.
The tie between the duo made the organisers to pronounce them co-winners in that category.
What winners got
Each winner was awarded a trophy as well as scholarship cash prizes by the organisers. Some guests at the venue of the finale also voluntarily donated cash prizes to some winners.
The trophy was donated by Dedicom Associates International Limited while the scholarship cash prize worth Eight Hundred and Eighty Thousand naira (N880,000) was donated by the Founder of Afe Babalola University, Aare Afe Babalola.
The winner in the primary school category got Two Hundred Thousand naira (N200,000) while that of the secondary category went home with Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand naira (N250,000). The first-runner up in the primary school category got one hundred thousand naira (N100,000) while his secondary school counterpart got One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N150,000).
For the second-runner up in the primary school category, it was Eighty Thousand Naira (N80,000). In the secondary school category where there were two second-runners up, it was deemed that the duo share the scholarship cash prize of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000) equally.
Also, Usam Education Consult is giving the top winners in the secondary school category full university scholarship at either Ecole Suprerieure des Technologies Avancees et de Management (ESTAM) or Universite des Sciences Appliquees et Management (USAM), both in Benin Republic, provided that they belong to the arts and humanities. If there was any who belonged to the sciences, they were to be compensated with a cash prize of Twenty-Five thousand naira, Fifteen thousand naira and Ten Thousand naira (N10,000) for the first, second and third positions respectively in lieu of their scholarship.
The coordinator of the winner at the primary category, was given a laptop, donated by the Territorial Manager of 9mobile, Southwest Nigeria, Mr Oluwaseun Popoola. Another laptop was donated by UNESCO Office in Nigeria for the coordinator of the winner of the secondary school category.
UNESCO Commends Organisers
Professor Abiodun Ojo had delivered the keynote address, on behalf of the representative of the Regional Director of UNESCO, Mr. Olushola Macaulay. In the speech, he reeled on how MIL was a counter terrorism measure and a medium to fight against fake news. He commended the organisers of SPELL&THRILL for keying into UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy (MIL) drive.
The finale was witnessed by personalities from the academia, various state ministries of education, the organised private sector as well as the general public.