A 14-year-old JSS 2 student, Alfred Makut, on Friday emerged winner of a spelling competition organised by the Government Secondary School, Kyan-Rikkos, in Jos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Makut defeated other competitors from both the junior and senior classes to the top prize of the three-week competition.
For emerging the best spelling bee, Makut received a dictionary and a scholarship that covered his JSSCE fees.
NAN also reports Dongnan Daniel, a 15-year-old SSS 1 student, who came second, also received a dictionary and a scholarship that would cover his first term school fees for SSS 2.
Our correspondent, who covered the finals of the competition, also reports that all participants received consolatory prizes comprising text and exercise books
In a brief speech at the ceremony, Victoria Gyang, Principal of the school, thanked the English Department for organising the competition, and urged the students to take their spellings seriously.
“The goal is to let students know how to use the Dictionary and how to make it a constant companion,” she said.
Ms. Gyang advised students asked to repeat classes to always take it in good faith and strive to learn from past mistakes so as to excel in their academic performances.
Josephine Ayuba, the Coordinator of the Competition and Head of the Languages Department, said that the goal was to motivate students on the relevance of the Dictionary to their academic pursuit.
“We want students to improve their spelling skills and also motivate them to use and spell words correctly,” she said.
She regretted that quality had continued to dwindle, saying that organsing such competitions would encourage students to sit up and ensure that nothing was taken for granted.
Mrs. Ayuba praised the quality of the competition, particularly the challenge from the junior students.
“You can see that a junior student floored the senior students. It means that we have very high potential that need just a little encouragement to excel and make us proud,” she said.
She urged the Plateau government to support secondary and primary schools to organise speech and prize giving days so as to encourage and challenge students to work hard.
“Programmes like debates, quiz, spelling contest and science competition should be organised periodically to stimulate healthy competitions among students. We must continue to explore such areas so as to bring out the best in our students,” she said.