Christine Neetha Abraham wins The Hindu Spelling Bee contest

Christine Neetha Abraham, Class IX student of the St. Thomas Residential School, Mukkolackal, bagged the first place in ‘The Hindu Spelling Bee’ contest held at the Sarvodaya Vidyalaya School auditorium at Nalanchira here on Sunday.

A Newspaper in Education (NIE) initiative of the The Hindu, the competition was attended by nearly 200 students from around 25 schools in the city. Midhun Xavier, a Class IX student of Vishwa Prakash Central School, came second and S. Aditya Krishna, a Class VIII student of St. Thomas Residential School, came third after a series of elimination rounds.

A written preliminary stage was held in the morning that consisted mostly of multiple-choice questions. The semi-final round was trickier with questions testing the contestants’ skill with the English language and not spellings alone. Heteronyms, or words sharing the same spelling but have different meaning and pronunciation, succeeded in tripping up a few participants. The final three contestants had to battle for supremacy in an etymology round.

The audience were kept entertained by quizmaster Rahul Nair, general manager of Thoughts Academy, who constantly threw tough questions at them. General knowledge questions were fielded by the parents who attended the event as well, with a couple of students joining them.

The three winners describe themselves to be avid readers. In fact, Christine’s mother said she had to tell her off to set aside her novels at least the day before her term-end examinations. Aditya, whose role-model is world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, said he was on the verge of turning his father bankrupt considering the rate at which he was purchasing books. Science-fiction aside, he is also a follower of children’s fantasy novels — his current favourite being a trilogy written by Jonathan Stroud. Midhun’s unwavering favourite for long has been the works of British writer Roald Dahl.

The knowledge partner of the event was Thought Academy, Thiruvananthapuram. The associate sponsor was Indian Bank and co-sponsors, SBI Life Insurance and TIME. The venue was sponsored by Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, Thiruvananthapuram. Snacks and beverages were sponsored by ‘1976 Once Upon a Time,’ a restaurant at Capital Hotel, and prizes, by Modern Book Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.