SINGAPORE - Who will be the nation's top speller? The champion in the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship, also known as The Big Spell, will be crowned on Saturday, April 26, in the final battle among 25 finalists.
The finalists from 15 primary schools made it to this decisive showdown after two earlier rounds. Among them are four zonal champions who emerged at the top, having beaten 122 others in the zonal round on April 5.
At stake is $5,000 for the champion, who will also win the Challenge Trophy for his or her school, while the first and second runners-up will win $3,000 and $1,000 cash respectively.
The four Zonal champions from each zone have each won $500 cash and $100 worth of book vouchers. All the finalists will each receive a medal.
The 25 finalists will pit their skills against one another at the Auditorium located at the Tay Eng Soon Convention Centre, Institute of Technical Education at Ang Mo Kio, from 9.00 am. Speaker of Parliament, Madam Halimah Yacob is the guest-of-honour.
Like in the Zonal Rounds, the finalists will show off their spelling chops before an audience. They will take turns to spell aloud the words read to them by a pronouncer.
This time, the judging panel comprises officials from the English Language Institute of Singapore (ELIS); Ministry of Education, Singapore; Speak Good English Movement and The Straits Times.
These finalists represent the best of the 1,400 pupils who first took part in the Preliminary Round on March 1, and who bested their peers at the zonals just two weeks ago.
Said Ms Serene Goh, Editor of IN and Little Red Dot, The Straits Times' weekly publications for schools: "I think this competition, as a mind sport, has proven to be a truly meaningful way to get young readers to think differently about the English language. We're all in awe at how they're so prepared, so competitive, so focused. There's a lot of mutual respect for each other too. We've heard so many of them congratulate each other on their results, and playing the game well."
Ms Norazzah Sulaiman, RHB Banking Group's Group Chief Governance Officer said: "RHB Banking Group is proud to be part of the NSC and to contribute to this journey of self development of these young talents. It is good to see so many young minds confidently rising to the challenge and we hope that the experience gained throughout this competition will further build their character and enhance their mental capabilities. I also wish all our finalists the very best as they prepare for the final battle this weekend."
The organisers hope the competition will develop a greater appreciation of the importance of spelling in literacy development among primary school pupils, as well as help to promote a healthy competitive spirit. The contest, which is open to Primary 4, 5 and 6 pupils, is co-organised by RHB Banking Group and The Straits Times, in partnership with the MOE. It is supported by the National Library Board, Institute of Technical Education and tech giant Hewlett Packard.
For the first time, members of the public can watch the finalists battle it out, but they must pre-register first.
To register, go to www.straitstimes.com/big-spell-2014
The 25 finalists are as follows: