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Avril Regis wins 2017 Territorial Spelling Bee

McDonald’s American Samoa vice president of Marketing and Public Relations, Larry Sanitoa (far left), pictured with students who took first, second and third place —there were two who placed third — following yesterday’s Samoa News 2017 Territorial Spelling Bee competition at the KVZK-TV studio. [photo: AF]

St. Theresa Elementary’s 8th grader, Avril Regis, took first place yesterday in the 23rd annual Samoa News Territorial Spelling Bee competition.  McDonald’s American Samoa is the major sponsor.

As in past years, the competition was hosted by KVZK-TV and it was broadcast live.

Regis, the daughter of Josephine & Lexpher Regis from Vaitogi, clinched the Spelling Bee championship title in the 23rd round by correctly spelling the word “despicable”. In the 22nd round, she correctly spelled “ointment”, sending her to the final round, while GK Allen Seagai, an 8th grader from Le’atele Elementary School took second place, when he misspelled “cuticles”.

For the third place, it went to two students — Sharon Jeannie Lavea of Lauli’i Elementary School and Toalei Sigafili Toelupe of Aua Elementary School, and both students are 8th graders.

This year’s competition attracted 32 students from both public and private schools and Samoa News Managing Director, Robin Annesley-Dalton said at the opening of the event yesterday that Samoa News had sought and received “special permission” from Scripps National Spelling Bee for a home-schooled student to compete.

McDonald’s American Samoa stepped up for the third year as the major corporate sponsor for the Samoa News Bee competition, and local franchise president and chief executive officer Tautolo Charlie Tautolo said the company is very pleased of this opportunity to be a major sponsor again for the Territorial Spelling Bee.

“We are happy to support this great annual event — which highlights to our young people the importance of reading, writing and comprehension in their education,” said Tautolo yesterday morning.

“Furthermore, this sponsorship is in alignment with the McDonald’s annual scholarship awards in which we promote and encourage our young people to pursue their educational goals,” he said.

Tautolo extended congratulations to all the young Spelling Bee participants, to their teachers and especially their parents. He also thanked Samoa News and the committee for organizing this year's annual event.

This year’s National Spelling Bee competition is set for May 28- June 8 in Washington D.C. Ms. Regis, accompanied by a chaperone/ tutor, will represent American Samoa at the national level Scripps Bee.

Annesley Dalton expressed sincere appreciation to the business community for their continued contribution to the annual Spelling Bee, donating services, food & drinks, as well as prizes for the young competitors.

“I look forward to seeing new spellers next year,” she said, adding that with the generosity of local businesses the event will continue to be a success.

“I am so very proud of our spellers, and our representative heading to Washington D.C,” she said and noted that “we may not have gotten a national winner yet, but I think we’re moving in that direction. And we’ve come a long way from 23 years ago.”