Isatou Fofana, a student of Karantaba Lower Basic School, has emerged winner of the Lower River Region (LRR) spelling bee competition.
Mahmood Rashid, a student of Notre Dame School, came out second while Mamadou Bah of Soma New Lower Basic School finished third during the final of the competition, held at Soma Lower Basic School on Tuesday.
The three students will represent LRR in the national championship to be held in June, this year.
Organised by TAKE-M Transformation Organisation, the spelling competition brought together several students from various schools in LRR.
Tunde Muyi Ogundimu, CEO of TAKE-M Transformation Organisation, said the competition is meant to promote the importance of reading, comprehension, writing and spelling in education.
“The competition is a way of preparing foundation for the students because if it (the foundation) is strong, the students find it an easy ride when they get to junior and senior secondary schools,” he said. “If the foundation, the root is bad, there is nothing they can do when they get to the top.”
Mr Ogundimu said TAKE-M is set up to develop the growth of education through spelling, comprehension, writing and reading.
“We are here to build a network of students who will be role models for others to emulate,” the CEO of TAKE-M said.
He thanked the headmasters, teachers, parents as well as the students for effectively participating in the competition from the starting to the ending.
The triumphant Isatou Fofana said she found the competition exciting and easy, for she prepared well for it.
“I will continue working with my teachers to make LRR proud during the national championship,” the young girl said.
Lamin Jobe, a teacher at Karantaba LBS, said it is not a surprise for them at the school that Isatou came out first in the competition.
“Since the news broke out that there would be a spelling bee competition in the region, we have been preparing her,” he said. “Every Monday and Friday during assembly she would be brought in front of all students who would call her words to spell and she would always spell correctly.”
Mr Jobe said they would continue to work with the young girl to help her improve on her weaknesses, before the national competition.
Mahmood Rashid, a grade 3 student who came out second, said he had the opportunity to learn from other students during the competition.
The young boy expressed confidence that he would win the national championship.
Mahmood thanked his mother and teachers for being “really helpful in my studies”.
Teresa Mamwacha, an official of Notre Dame School, the school Mahmood is attending, said they are proud of the young boy because “as a grade 3 student, he is able to compete with students from grades 5 and 6 successfully."
Teresa said of the three winners: “From what they have shown during the competition, if their schools and teachers are willing and committed to helping them, they can make the region (LRR) proud during the national championship.”
She said the initiative of spelling bee competition “is a great step” that needs to be supported so that it can be a continual event.
“This needs to be an annual event as it will help students to study, read and be really committed because they will know they are going for something that can make them great people,” Teresa said.
“The competition will help students to gain courage, work hard and put all their energy into their education.”
Mr Bah of Soma Lower Basic School said the spelling bee is not a competition but forum to gain motivation.
He described the competitors as ambassadors of their respective schools.
Omar Keita, cluster monitor at Region 4, said: “We hope the winners will make the region proud during the national championship.”
Bara Jallow, a teacher at Buiba Lower Basic School, expressed hope that the three winners will make it in the national championship.
“Looking at their participation and the competitiveness of the competition and the way they handled the words they spelled, they can make it even at international level,” he said.
He called on the education authorities to support such initiatives in the country.