Gifton Wright’s participation at the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition was highly anticipated by the Kingston College community and for good reason. He was already the champion speller for Jamaica and displayed the talent and dedication that always lead to success. After competing over two days, he once again did extremely well. He placed fourth out of 278 champion spellers from around the world.
Naturally, the entire Jamaica was proud of Gifton’s achievement, being the top performer of all competitors outside of the United States. More so, the Kingston College family; we were overjoyed. As such, a welcoming party was put together to meet him upon arrival at the airport. It was at short notice since he finished competing on Thursday night and was returning Saturday evening. However, the turnout was still very good and a banner was prepared in his honour.
The Principal, Vice-Principals, members of staff from both campuses, students, old boys and parents converged at North Street to be transported to the airport. Upon arrival at the airport, we joined with family and friends of Gifton, as well as members of the media, who had already been at the airport anticipating his return. The Member of Parliament of Gifton’s community, Ms. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange was also on hand to offer her best wishes.
As Gifton approached the exit, the students on hand held aloft the banner as his family converged around him greeting him with congratulatory hugs. The proceedings went on for awhile as everybody on hand wanted to greet him personally, meanwhile capturing numerous pictures. Also the inevitable interviews of Gifton, his coach the Rev. Glen Archer, his parents and representatives of the school were conducted on the night.
The celebration of our newest young star was not over as yet. In fact it had just begun. Upon his arrival at school Monday morning, he was once again greeted with his banner, this time in his form room among his classmates who were all excited for him. He was then taken by the Grade coordinator and introduced to the other classes on the compound.
Later that day, the school was visited by The Gleaner. They recorded footage of him in class and then carried out interviews of him, his form teacher and his mother. Later that week, he was featured on the morning programs of both major television stations. I am told by his classmates that he is now recognized everywhere he goes and not only on the school campus where he is now almost a celebrity.
Despite all this attention however, Gifton remains very humble and reserved. He is quite comfortable in the spotlight, but he does not crave it. He also remains committed to his schoolwork. Upon his return on Monday morning after missing the previous week, he immediately got down to business. He borrowed books from classmates and during the week, he was seen transcribing notes to his books and getting current with work that he had missed.
Even after missing considerable days due to his preparation and competing, we are confidence that he will do very well in his exams that the school body is now currently engaged in.