Queen bee spells her way to J-a-m-a-i-c-a

Champion speller Jules McNeice smiles broadly after winning the 2010 Spelling Bee at Macy’s Herald Square store recently. Here the queen bee is flanked by JTB’s Marcia Sinclair and her parents Laura and Michael.
Photo by Bill Cancellare
Photo by Bill Cancellare

Jules McNeice is the champion speller and the winner of an all-expense paid trip to Jamaica. The queen bee spelled her way to victory at the grand finale of the Macy’s Fifth Annual Spelling Bee held on Sept. 26 at Macy’s Department Store in Manhattan.

The Jamaica Tourist Board’s District Sales Manager, Northeast USA Marcia Sinclair presented McNeice and her proud parents, Laura and Michael with an all-inclusive family trip to Jamaica courtesy of one of the local resorts.

Allegedly, the JTB has been helping to raise back-to-school spirits by partnering with the retail giant, providing backpacks for contestants at qualifying events in numerous outlets. For the fifth year, representatives judged a mini-spelling bee competition inside the store.

The annual back-to-school competition enables champion spellers and their parents, free trips to the island nation.

Part of the fun is not just spelling words found in any standard dictionary but mixed into the contest are words familiar to the Jamaican dialect and culture.

Words like ‘boonoonoonus’ could have been included as a descriptive patois for lovely.

‘Ackee’ might have been on the list to test spelling and knowledge of the island’s national dish.

No ordinary spelling bee contestant would bother to memorize the word ‘lignum vitae’ however, optimistic bees hoping to buzz down to Jamaica studied the Latin bloomer that flowers a hardwood tree on the island.

More likely were tourist-related spellings such as “M-o-n-t-e-g-o;” the name of the second city of the nation.

Or N-e-g-r-i-l, the capital hub vacationing students huddle during spring break.

And not to be misspelled is “J-A-M-A-I-C-A” the country to unite with a leading department store in order that a family will play on a beach together.

The final competition brought in semifinalist spellers from qualifying regional bees held this summer in 29 Macy’s locations.

The 8 -12-year-old regional winners were selected to compete at the flagship store in Manhattan, where the final winner was awarded an all-inclusive trip for four to Jamaica, including air travel and accommodations, courtesy of one of the popular family resorts.

“The Jamaica Tourist Board is excited to join Macy’s in this celebration of family. And it’s a wonderful way to encourage and promote literacy while exposing youth to the family-friendly culture of Jamaica,” Jamaica’s Director of Tourism John Lynch said. “We are extremely proud of these children, and pleased the art of spelling is being preserved and fostered in this fast-moving technological era.”

The children seemed to enjoy spelling the day away in hopes of winning the grand prize. Each participant received Jamaican wave-rags to celebrate the grand finale.

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