History was created when KC 7 Francis grader Gifton Wright won the Kingston leg of The Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee 2010-11parish finals at the company’s auditorium on Wednesday, October 13.
When Gifton out spelt 21 others, the Gleaner staff reporter remarked, “A history that will stamp the purple seal on the North Street giants, KC, on the Spelling Bee trophy for the first time ever, and write Gifton’s name among other spelling greats who all possess a common trait-discipline.”
The news of the victory of the humble and confident 12 year old was received with jubilation at the Melbourne campus where the school was being entertained by Mutabaruka and Tony Rebel at a Heritage Day/Jamaica Day function. His mother Lorna Wright, his tutor at McAulay Primary Errol Campbell as well as his present coach Rev Glen Archer, were overjoyed as well; so too, school mates, teachers, friends and relatives of Ellerslie Pen, Tawes Pen and Windsor Road, Spanish Town.
Many may ask who is this lad?
Gifton Samuel Wright was born to Gifton and Lorna Wright at Spanish Town Hospital on March 8, 1998. He attended the spelling powerhouse McAulay Primary which was at Windsor road just over the road from his Ellerslie Pen home. According to his 6th grade teacher, Errol Campbell, he “was very humble, very polite, meticulous, a gifted fighter and whatever he does, he performs.”
Twice he tried to represent his primary school at the St. Catherine parish final of the Spelling Bee but had to play second fiddle to his nemesis Davian Stewart who went on to cop the parish title last year. In his final year at the school, he was elected deputy head boy. Always on the look out for challenges, he turned his attention to track and field and represented his school in the 100 and 200m when they entered the 2009-10 Primary school Champs for the first time.
Gifton passed GSAT for KC with a little over an 88 average. Before he entered the hallowed portals, chairman of the school board, KC 78er Neville ‘Sowah’ Graham recalled, “I remember warning Gifton at School Leaving Dinner that I’d have my eyes on him…. beg pardon, can’t see him through the tears.”
When Gifton left for the Kingston parish final that Wednesday morning, he was accompanied to the bus stop by his mother at the usual 5.30 am. At the time, Ellerslie as indeed Tawes Pen and that east of the imaginary line at Food for the Poor were trying to adjust to the effects of the curfew and running gun feud between the Clansman and One Order gangs. His mother recalled that Gifton fasted and prayed throughout the ordeal. When she placed him on the bus that morning she said a prayer, “Go forth, I believe in God and trust in God.”
The rest is history.
It was a confident Gifton Samuel Wright that slowly walked up to the mike when asked to spell the word B-E-R-Y-L-L-I-U-M. He knew that if he got it right he would smell the Bee because his closest rival 10 year old Ian- Paul Douglas of Franklin Town Primary had earlier stumbled at A-C-C-L-V-I –T-Y. Gifton knew the ritual for end game well and therefore had the audience in suspense as he put them through agony with a litany of questions of the spelling master. “May I have the meaning of the word, sir; Is there another meaning sir; what’s the origin, sir;, any other pronunciation sir; what part o speech, sir; He then cleared his throat, toughed the candy bump of the purple and white and then slowly spelt B_E_R_Y_L_L_I_U_M. “That is correct” said the spelling master,”I now declare you the winner.”
Gifton will move on to the national final, and guess who he will come up against. Yes! Davian Stewart of Jonathan Grant who is once again the St. Catherine parish champion.
Read the Gleaner account of Gifton’s win: