Two Grade 3 AW Barnes Primary School pupils have proven themselves as wordsmiths of note when they cracked the circuit spelling bee competition, taking first and second place out of 30 pupils who were gathered at Parkside Primary School on Thursday.
Nine-year-old Bukhobenkosi Gqomose came first in the competition, with sevenyear-old Iva Kangapi in second place.
The spelling bee is an annual competition aimed at improving literacy levels and instilling a love for reading and spelling in young pupils.
Ten schools participated in the spelling bee, with each school sending their top three Grade 3 pupils to represent them.
The pupils each had to work through five rounds of intense word play, and put their spelling skills to the test, each cracking randomly selected words out of the 400word list they had each received.
The pupils work closely with their class teachers, where the cream of the crop is identified and shortlisted for the circuit competition.
Buffalo Flats, Parkside, Aspiranza and Pefferville primary schools were among this year’s entrants.
Speaking to the sister newspaper Daily Dispatch yesterday, the star pupils said they were elated over their achievements.
Iva said he found the competition “great. Sometimes it got a bit hard but it was nice. I only got one word wrong”.
Bukhobenkosi said she entered as she wanted to learn and discover more words.
“I am happy that I came first. My sister also won the competition two years ago so I wanted to be like her.”
The duo had to learn and spell words such as “sacrifice”, “jealousy”, “calculate” and “ambassador”.
Principal of the school, Geoffery Gamiet said: “We feel so proud of the two of them. We put a lot of emphasis on reading and mathematics in the foundation phase because it helps them in future grades.”
An avid reader himself, Gamiet said he enjoyed having reading and spelling competitions with his pupils during their assembly sessions to encourage the habit.
Nishana Hardavnarain, the school’s foundation phase head, said she was happy that “the school cultivates young bright pupils”.
The two pupils both said they were gunning for the first position at the Buffalo City district spelling bee competition final, which will be held on Friday at Grens Primary.