The highly anticipated spelling bee competition has finally ended. It is with great pleasure that we share with you the exhilarating highlights of the spelling bee event. This article, written by one of ours, Mr Babalola BabaTunde, delves into the unforgettable moments, the outstanding participants, and the sheer brilliance displayed at the just-concluded spelling bee competition.

It was a Tuesday at St Peter Primary school, Oke Aro, Agbado. The day for a spelling bee competition organized by the NGO I work with. One of our flagship projects for the year, a rigorous plan has preceded the day. It was a privilege to be part of those reaching out to people in the underserved community, especially, children; a course I am committed to.  Of course, it will be incomplete to organize any programme for kids without any form of entertainment. So, the norm is a disc jockey is usually on standby to give the ambiance a pleasurable atmosphere. It was not new to me seeing kids set into all forms of kinetics by music. However, this particular Tuesday got me a discovery. When kids dance, there is bound to be so much laughter because of the different dance styles or steps which in most cases will not synchronize with the beats of the music. Never mind, to them, the fun is more important than following organized dance moves associated with the sound.

On this day, rave-of-the-moment songs like Zazoo by Portable caused an intensely spirited atmosphere that led to different forms of acrobatics and symmetrical leg melee. Popular street songs have a way of jerking even the onlooker to enter the arena. On this day, the invited parents and teachers cannot help but throw themselves into the dancing arena. It became a free for all between the parents, teachers, and pupils on the dance floor. I must confess, it was fun to behold though was aghast. The scene was ecstatic, to the organizers, it was a climax of relief because glitches made the program start behind the schedule. The joy the pupils, teachers, and parents exude means one thing: a successful programme.

While looking at the scene, I noticed that almost all the kids cannot only dance but loudly sang the lyrics of almost all the songs played. They sang verbatim as each song is reeled in. The brilliant, the average and all others within the academic ranks were joyously resonating with the songs. The songs were an equalizer since the students can sing along, and nothing showed academic superiority. At this juncture, I said to myself, no kid is dull, just mischanneling of energy is the undoing. If a child can memorize almost the lyrics of all the songs the DJ played, then he/she can memorize the words of the school notes. Of course, under proper guidance. If learning comes with the same fun the music brings that automatically set them into motion unconsciously, I think kids will do well in their academics. The question is how fun is our education system? To be candid, for these kids in an underserved community, it has never been fun.It took the intervention of concerned people to revamp some of the classrooms but the dilapidated structures were still staring at us all. To some of them, rain means there is no school because their classrooms are reservoirs for rainwater. In most parts of Nigeria, the experience of the pupils at St Peter Primary school resonates with their counterparts in other states. It is even worst in some parts. The gap in learning between the privileged and the underserved is what my NGO is bridging. I must commend the REEL foundation for the massive impact and educational imprint it has left on the lives of children in the community served. If we can draw out the kind of emotion attached to music and dance from these young wards, the bars will be raised in their academic performance and pursuit. This can’t be except the right environment and resources are available. I believe it is not just a governmental responsibility but a partnership between the private sector and the government while the parents keep playing a pivotal role.”

The just-concluded spelling bee competition was a testament to the incredible potential and talent harbored within young minds worldwide. As we celebrate the champions and all the participants, we look forward to witnessing the future contributions of these prodigious spellers as they shape the world with their linguistic prowess.

Written By: Mr. Babatunde Osho