The answer is ‘Antistrephorrhynchus’ (an extinct crustacean). Now, can you spell that? Haha.
Thanks to Omy.sg, I attended Singapore’s very own National Spelling Championship last saturday. It started at 10am, while probably most people were still sweet in their dreams, Raffles City Convention centre was already filled with parents, students, teachers, all excited for the 31 students who were about to go on stage.
More than 1400 students signed up for competition, and after the preliminary rounds, the number was whittled down to just 31 students, the cream of the crop, and already winners in their own rights.
It was an eye opener for me, because there wasn’t such a competition back in my time. Started in 2007, the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship 2013 (NSC) aims to develop a greater appreciation of the importance of spelling in literacy development among Primary 4, 5 and 6 pupils in Singapore.
The competition is designed to provide pupils with the opportunities to pit their spelling skills against one another by applying strategies to help them spell words both familiar and unfamiliar to them. In the process, pupils will gain an awareness of phonemes and syllabication while enriching their vocabulary through the study of prefixes, suffixes and root words.
Look, my Marymount Convent junior. Go girl! :) The students line up and one by one stand up to the microphone, listen to a word pronounced impeccably by the pronouncer, and proceed to spell it out clearly for everyone to hear. It is so intense for such young kids to face the audience, and still keep a cool head and spell words correctly. And mind you, the words aren’t even easy.
Some of the words chosen were ‘portmanteau’, dachshund’, ‘prognosticate’, ‘halcyon’ and many more. I could still spell along for round 1, but when the words got more insanely harder to spell, I jus sat back and relax, and learned how to spell from the kids. Haha
After TEN ROUNDS, the last two contenders were Ashvin Sivakumar from Anglo-chinese school (Primary) and Kua Le Yi from Catholic High Primary. Ashvin spelled ‘pescatarian’ as ‘pescetarian’, the judges indicated that he had spelled wrongly, but he actually challenged the judges twice. I still remember what he said, “I’m very sure it is spelled correctly, my mother tested me that word and I remember it!”
The judges checked and checked. It turned out that two of the official dictionaries used in the competition spelled it ‘pescatarian’, but a third dictionary included it as ‘pescetarian’, used in an American context. So he was awarded the point!
Wow, I learned something from Ashvin. When you know that you are right about something, fight for it when people say you’re wrong. Lol can you imagine if he didn’t challenge the judges’ decision? His opponent might have won instead of him.
Watch this video to see how exciting it was when he challenged the judges.
After he was awarded the point to ‘pescetarian’, he had to spell a new word to clinch the title. The winning word? It was ‘pulchritudinous‘! Haha seriously no kick for him. And so he won!
The top three winners are second runner-up Loi Si Xian from Raffles Girls’ Primary, first runner-up Kua Le Yi from Catholic High Primary, and champion Ashvin Sivakumar from Anglo-Chinese School (Junior). They won $1000, $3000 and $5000 respectively.