Skip to the content

The top three performers (from left) Zefan Scott, third place finisher Josiah Griffith and second place finisher Khaidian Rawlins with (in background) ICBL Interim CEO Goulbourne Alleyne and Starcom Network Station Manager Anthony Greene (right).

Zefan Scott of the St Winifred’s School correctly spelt every word given to him during the ICBL/Starcom National Junior Spelling Bee and walked away with this year’s title. Scott did so unflinchingly and with confidence on Friday (October 28) when the Finals were held at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He beat out 96 other finalists in the keenly contested competition with entrants from more than 30 private and public primary schools. Organisers admitted that the competition was stiffer this year with more competitors since the number of participating schools almost doubled since the first competition in 2019. 

Zefan, though happy with his performance, his first time in the competition, was also relieved that it was finally over. Flanked by his father Allen Scott after the prizegiving ceremony Zefan said the preparation was hard because he had to study a lot, but, in the end, while he was unsure of some of the words from the competition, he knew the words he had. 

Allen added that the enthusiasm from Zefan was there even though sometimes the preparation was challenging and intense given the number of words he had to learn, “he put in every ounce of work that was needed,” Allen stated.

Paula Scott, Learning Support Teacher at St Winifred’s School, spoke to the value of the Spelling Bee. 

“I think it is very essential,” she said while adding that these days children are often on tablets and devices and do not know how to communicate or spell. Using social media platforms like WhatsApp, they abbreviate words but need to learn the root words and know how to work them into composition, spelling and comprehension.


ICBL Interim CEO Goulbourne Alleyne with Spelling Bee winner Zefan Scott.

Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Underwriting Officer of ICBL Goulbourne Alleyne said, “This year’s Spelling Bee was always expected to be a keenly contested one. However, 70 students made it to the finals on their first attempt, and three schools had all four entrants advance in the first round. That speaks to the calibre of students we have participating this year and the level of preparation and work being done in the schools”.

The Spelling Bee is an integral part of ICBL’s effort to enhance the literary skills of the nation’s children and will continue to feature highly on its annual calendar of activities.  

Alleyne said, “ICBL is fortunate to be recognised as an excellent place to work, which means we attract many job hunters and see many resumes. Reading through these thousands of resumes over time, we realised the quality of writing was on the decline, and this cemented our decision to get involved in improving literacy in Barbados”.


ICBL Chief Financial Officer Glyne Pilgrim with second place finisher Khaidian Rawlins.

Khaidian Rawlins of The St Luke’s Brighton Primary School placed second, while Josiah Griffith of The People’s Cathedral School placed third. Scott received two airline tickets to London on Virgin Atlantic, cash prizes including $2500 from ICBL, a staycation at The Sands, a laptop computer and other cash and prizes. The St Winifred’s School received $5000 from ICBL while the second and third place schools received $2000 and $1000, respectively.

This year ICBL also highlighted the Spelling Bee alumni who were special guests at the Finals. They included 2019 winner Bianca Massiah and 2021 winner Sebastian Matthews.