11-year-old wins Ogun community spelling bee competition

An 11-year-old girl, Olaoluwa Ayoola, has won the under 12 category of the spelling bee competition in the 2019 REEL Community games in Agbado community, Ogun State.

Miss Ayoola said she was “both inspired and encouraged to become a better speller so I can compete in higher levels of spelling bee competition.”

The competition, which held on Friday, also had chess and scrabble sub-categories and had participants from seven communities across Lagos and Ogun states.

The event was organised by REEL Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, and sponsored by TOTAL E&P Cooperative. It was targeted towards giving students of under served communities the opportunity to compete in a standard educative competition and promote healthy competition amongst students who use the e-learning hub of the organization.

Ajao Ahmed, a two-time REEL competition scrabble winner in the senior category, said despite winning twice, he is aware that the competition is stiff and personal Improvement is always needed to stay on top of the game.

“Scrabble changed my mentality and enhanced my vocabulary. I used to be poor in English but with the help of scrabble my command of the English language has greatly improved,” he said.

“Despite winning the competition for two consecutive times now, I believe the competition is very competitive but I would advise other players should continue working on themselves more and intensify their efforts.”

Ajoke Olatunde, the founder of the NGO, said the foundation had catered for approximately 1,000 students in its four years of existence across its three hubs.

“Like the name of the foundation says (Reading to Enhance Excellence in Learning), we are passionate about access to quality learning for children irrespective of their environment or background,” said Ms Olatunde.

“Nigeria is big. One public library cannot serve everyone but if there is a community learning hub, children within that community have access to where they can learn and play.

“In our learning hub, they have access to a place where they can learn, they have access to printed books and e-books in tablets, and access to internet facilities for their homework and access to board games. That’s the idea behind the community games we are celebrating today.”

The community games began in 2018 and is targeted at the hub’s users as well as students in the community.

“The spelling bee is a link to literacy and board games are the things we play which should increase our thinking capacity,” Ms Olatunde continued.

“This competition was initially planned for Agbado and its environs but we found out that we have people from as far away as Igando, Obawole, and even Abeokuta. For this year we have people from two states, Lagos and Ogun and roughly seven communities.”

Nneka Nwana, the coordinator of the corporate social responsibility unit, TOTAL E&P Cooperative, said the organisation believed they could reach the communities through the NGO, hence the partnership.

“Like you already know, they offer e-learning facilities, organise games and competitions for children in underserved communities. So we thought we could partner with them to organise this event,” Ms Nwana said.

“Basically, the event was organised to bring children together to compete on board games and spelling bee. And we also partner with them to setup and upgrade their e-learning hub, one here at Agbado and another one at Ikorodu.”

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