People with special needs take part in RAYZ Spell Champ 2010, a unique spelling bee competition.
Contributed By Amanda Yun
Final preparations for RAYZ’s Fun Learning Weekend on Oct. 2 began just after an exciting morning of learning for 507 special individuals. Packed with fun-filled educational programs back-to-back, involving a variety of learnable skills, the eventful weekend achieved RAYZ’s aims for their clients.
A service of City Harvest Community Services Association which “champions the cause of improving the lives of people with special needs,” RAYZ’s goal is to enable their clients to become confident and contributing members of the community.
Says program coordinator, Santhi Singaram, “We want to encourage people with special needs to break the glass ceiling over them when it comes to learning. We believe that learning is the key to successful living and we want to create an opportunity for our clients to learn beyond all boundaries.”
And learn beyond boundaries they most certainly did. The activities that day began with a warm-up cheer to stir up the auditorium filled with cheering friends, schoolmates and family members of the contestants of RAYZ Spell Champ 2010. Enthusiastic participation from supporters was evident throughout every activity—all of which had been designed to give the participants a chance to sing, dance and show off their general knowledge and vocabulary. With the refrain of the event’s catch phrase constantly heard—“Learning is fun! Learning is rewarding! Learning is useful!”—the participants got into the spirit of the event through the word puzzles and races. They also had a ball of a time as they posed, shook and slid along to “Ice Cream Freeze,” a dance segment of the program.
|CN PHOTOS: Koh Meng Kwang|
The highlight of the day was the event’s namesake—RAYZ Spell Champ 2010. RSC is a simplified spelling bee competition in which participants are given one week to learn a standard list of words before going through a semi-final round a week earlier. 12 contestants were selected for the finals out of the many participants from the nine schools invited to take part in the event. Participating schools included Tanglin School, Delta Senior School, Katong School, and St. Clare School.
If butterflies were fluttering in stomachs, the contestants certainly did not show it as they confidently stepped onto the stage. Each contestant spelled out the words given to them by the official conducting the competition. Words such as “exacerbate,” “hallucinogen,” “miscellaneous” and “mediocre” were dauntlessly spelled out by each contestant. More than half of the finalists moved on to the speed round, where each contestant had to spell as many words as possible correctly within 30 seconds.
The finalists were anything but “mediocre.” Nick Soon, 14, of Grace Orchard School, clinched the trophy with seven words spelt correctly at the end of the speed round, with the first and second runners-up scoring six words each. Soon’s enthusiasm was seen in him running up to the microphone at every round even before his name had been completely called.
While all the finalists received a M125 Palm digital device, the winner won a trophy and a pair of tickets to Universal Studios Singapore.