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Teenagers win over N1 million prizes at national spelling bee finals

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JUNIOR secondary school students from across the country participated on Saturday in the grand finale of a national spelling competition, Solutions Spelling Bee, where the top three winners were awarded cash prizes of up to N1 million.

Organised by Decipher Solutions, the competition which is in its seventh year, took place in Abuja. The participants, 60 in all, were the top spellers from five regional rounds held in Lagos, Enugu, Gombe, Kano, and Abuja.

Emerging the grand prize winner, Praise June Seth, 13, a student of Zamani College, Kaduna, coasted home to victory with N500,000. The first runner-up and second runner-up, 11-year-old Ugosinachi Okoli of Starville School Abuja and 10-year-old Ugochi Okoli of Spring of Life International School Enugu, received N300,000 and N200,000. All three winners also got Samsung tablets.

The final round of a writing competition also took place as part of the event, where Indrani Okeke, a student of Spring of Life International School, Enugu, emerged winner. The second and third prize winners were Okpe Akondu of Starville School and Cleopatra Nkemsinachi Udoh of Spring of Life International School.

Zainab Haruna, the founder of Decipher Solutions, said in her opening address that the goal of the competition is not only to teach students how to spell and expand their vocabulary but also to equip them with skills that will make them productive in the modern world.

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“That is why we teach about financial literacy. Every person today must be financially literate. We want you to be good writers,” she said.

“Writing and speaking are two skills you should have to be educated in the 21st century. Some of you already have it. Some of you have it but you do not realise that you do, you will have to nurture it. We want you to be excellent writers, that is why we introduced the essay contest as a component of the spelling bee program.”

She added that the organisers deliberately incorporated workshops on public speaking, essay writing, boardgame design, and prose and poetry composition so as to improve the students’ skills and creativity.

Some of the student participants at the event

The competition was sponsored by the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), National Agency for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), and also received support from a host of other organisations.

Among personalities at the event were Eugenia Abu, deputy director of training at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) headquarters; Imevbore Ohiomokhare, head of the Business and Economic Desk at the African Independent Television (AIT); and Nwokedi Moses, an On-Air Personality (OAP) with Wazobia FM.

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