Pupils shine in spelling bee

Grade 5 winner Lathitha Gasanta from Gugulethu's Mseki Primary School, with Hillsong's Steffan van der Male and his wife, Marcy.

A cable-car ride up Table Mountain was the prize up for grabs during a spelling bee held by a Century City church last week.

More than 60 children from 11 schools competed in the Hillsong Church’s fourth annual spelling bee.

Hillsong Africa Foundation’s Steffan van der Male said the competition wasn’t just about spelling but about improving children’s overall literacy.

“We have tried to make reading and learning more exciting to the children,” he said.

Each school fielded three two-pupil teams, for grades 5 to 7, in the elimination rounds, until only two teams reached the finals in each age category.

But no one left empty handed, and there were other prizes up for grabs apart from the cable car ride for the winners and their teachers.

Heideveld Primary School teachers Jade Hart and Sharon Windvogel said the bee was a great way to encourage pupils.

“This is our second year and last year the learners were very nervous. But at the end of that spelling bee, our Grade 5s won in their section and this, of course, gave them confidence and also inspired other children to get involved,” said Ms Windvogel.

NonhlanhlaNyingwa, a teacher from Tembaletu School for pupils with special needs, said: “We have been with this competition since the beginning and it has inspired us to start our own spelling bee internally at the school which will serve as good preparation for this event.”

The school, she said, now wanted to extend its own bee to include other languages.

Ms Hart said it was clear to her that the bee had also encouraged parents to help their children prepare for the competition.

“You can tell that the children get help from their parents and are becoming more involved in the children’s education.

“We really appreciate the help of the parents.”

Mseki Primary School’s Lathitha Gatsana and Likhana Mzitho were the respective winners of the bee’s Grade 5 and 6 sections.

Tafelsig Primary School’s Alex Peter Jordaan won the Grade 7 section.

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