Rahul Wavare, an intelligent seven-year old, was triumphant at the Bhavans GCC Spell Bee 2017 with a perfect score for the second time in the grand competition in Category II. The first time he entered the intense competition last year, Rahul persevered through intense rounds to emerge victorious in Category I. The Grade 2 student from the British School of Kuwait (BSK) was beaming with pride and happiness as he held the trophy at the grand finale of the Bhavan’s GCC Spell Bee 2016-2017 held at Indian Educational School (IES), Jeleeb Al-Shuyoukh. As part of his first prize, he received a trophy, certificate and Rs. 50,000.
Bhavans GCC Spell Bee is a spelling contest organized in four GCC nations viz. Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and UAE. The spelling bee is divided into five categories; Category 1 – Grade 1; Category 2 – Grades 2 & 3; Category 3 – Grades 4, 5 & 6; Category 4 – Grades 7, 8 & 9 and Category 5 – Grades 10, 11 & 12.
The competition is comprised of four rounds: School Level, National Level, Knockout Round and Grand Finale.
The budding speller extraordinaire sat down for an interview with The Times where he discussed his hobbies and future plans. In his introduction, he comments that he is a curious person by nature, and an avid reader with a passion for encyclopedias and non-fiction books. However, he admits that his favorite subject in school is Math rather than English.
On whether any genre or specific books helped him be a good speller, he stressed that it was his general interest in different books and his fascination with reading and absorbing more knowledge that proved beneficial when he decided to compete in the professional spelling bees.
He elaborated on the various ways his mother was a source of inspiration and encouragement, saying, “Bhavans provided all participants with a word-bank around 1500 words, and my mother helped me prepare by testing me during regular sessions each day on the spelling and usage of the words.”
Expanding on his entire preparatory process, he pointed out, “We studied the meanings, usage, and pronunciations of different words each day. Transcription has a significant weight in several rounds of the competition. For example, you have words like beret that is pronounced as berei, so knowing the pronunciation is very important.”
Thinking about the time he felt the most pressure during the competition, he shared, “The Knockout round this year was particularly tough as the students who had cleared the national round were very proficient in spelling. I had to compete against more than 85 students before I could represent Kuwait in the final stage.”
While he has gained experience the first time, he states that the second time proved to be harder and competitive, he recalls, “The first time I ran against Grade 1 students and worked hard to achieve perfect scores in most rounds. This time it was far more challenging with Grade 2 and Grade 3 students who were from the best schools across the Middle East. Also, there was a more advanced choice of words and many new words to learn.”
Regarding his favorite word from the competition, he decides on “catastrophe” as it helped him finish the tie-breaker in the Knockout round. He offers motivation to all budding spellers to give it their best and enter any Spelling Bee competitions should the opportunities arise, he advises, “Students should practice daily and have fun with the entire process.”
Rahul sees a bright future ahead of him, and is very excited about his big plans; he wants to dedicate himself to his training to one day be a great spelling bee champion with many shinning trophies, while pursuing his dream of being a scientist.
By Christina Pinto