The finals of the 16th National Spelling Bee Competition were held on Tuesday 30 May 2017 at the Auditorium of The Mauritius Commercial Bank at Saint Jean in the presence of the Acting President of the Republic, H.E. Mr Barlen Vyapoory, GOSK, Hon. Prithvirajsing Roopun, Minister of Arts & Culture, Dr Melanie Zimmerman, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Ms Tedde Thompson, Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy and Mr Raoul Gufflet, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Mauritius Commercial Bank. Organized by the English-Speaking Union and sponsored by MCB, this competition gathers the best English spellers across the island. This competition is also sponsored by the US Embassy, Reinsurance Solutions and Currimjee Foundation.
Through this activity, Spellers experience the satisfaction of learning new English words specially pronunciation and definition, while enhancing their spelling and enriching their vocabulary. Those who have earned a place in the Finals were proficient spellers who were able to spell many difficult words at one of the seven preleminaries held earlier in the month of May, at the Greenwich University Pakistan, in Ebene.
The Spelling Bee concept originates from the United States and is one of the oldest and most iconic competitions in the States. It has now spread to many English-speaking countries. In Mauritius, the competition was launched in 2002 on the initiative of Sir Victor Glover, ESU Patron, and Mr Sanjit Teelock, ESU Master of Ceremony, with the help of the Embassy of the United States. The Mauritius Commercial Bank supports this initiative since 2006 by donating cash prizes and corporate gifts to the Finalists, and since 2015, the MCB host the Finals in their prestigious auditorium.
Back in 2002, only 49 schools in Mauritius took part in the Spelling Bee Competition which targeted Form I and II students only. The Spelling Bee Competition has since been extended to Form III and Form IV students, and participation in the competition has steadily risen every year to now reach a total of 550 students from 145 schools in Mauritius and 72 students from all six schools in Rodrigues. However, a much larger number of students are touched by this activity yearly as ESU encourages all schools to run their own in-house competition before they proceed with the final selection of candidates who take part in the ESU competition.
After an exciting competition, the four Winners (Form I, II, III and IV) received prizes from Ms Tedde Thompson, Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy as well as cash prizes cash prizes and corporate gifts from Mr Ryan Coopamah, Head of Communication at the MCB. Winners also received gifts and medals from the ESU. Besides, all finalists received prizes from the US Embassy and the MCB.
The four winners (Form I, II, III & IV) of the 2017 National Spelling Bee Competition are:
Form I: Andrew Ip Min Wan – Royal College, Curepipe
Form II: Arushi Khare – Northfields International High School
Form III: Ryan Jian Hao Hsiao Faang Yen – Royal College, Port-Louis
Form IV: Kawthar Sahaduth – Dr Maurice Curé State College
It should be noted that Ryan Jian Hao Hsia Fang Yen of Royal College, Port-Louis won the competition for 3 consecutive years.