10-year-old a bee among the clovers

2016-09-27 06:00
Mateo Joubert (10) was named the Western Cape spelling bee champion recently and will soon compete in the national spelling bee.  PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Mateo Joubert (10) was named the Western Cape spelling bee champion recently and will soon compete in the national spelling bee. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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At just 10 years old, he is a whizz in the classroom and well on his way to becoming the next great wordsmith in Mitchell’s Plain.

Mateo Joubert was named the Western Cape spelling bee champion in August and will be participating in another national spelling bee later this year.

Mateo is a Grade 5 pupil at Imperial Primary School.

He always showed great promise at school and after a last-minute notice for applications was received by the school, principal Collin Baron identified Joubert as a possible candidate.

This was the first time the school had entered this competition and teacher Alfonso Smith says they always had hope for him as he showed great promise – even when in Grade 2.

The school entered four pupils into the metro south competition and Mateo was the only one to qualify with a joint third place.

He was not happy with this placement and decided he wanted to achieve a higher placement in the regional championship. That dream became a reality when he won a spot in the national competition set to take place in Johannesburg later this year.

“Mateo has a deep love for learning and words. As early as Grade 2 he scored higher than most intermediate phase learners in the school’s annual spelling bee elimination rounds,” says Smith.

Mateo is a quiet and shy child but comes alive when discussing his future aspirations.

His quiet nature also helped him keep his cool during the competitions.

He and his mother, Yvette, have been training hard to ensure a positive result moving forward.

Smith says she was also instrumental in the success of this competition, having coached Mateo when he couldn’t.

“My mother is very proud of me and I have lots of fans,” says Joubert.

His teacher says his mother was “the best person for the job”.

“She does it very naturally and uses his surroundings to prepare him,” says Smith.

Mateo will soon start preparing for another spelling bee where he will once again represent the school next year.

“We had hopes that he would win,” Baron says. “We are very proud of him.”

Mateo himself has high hopes for his future.

“I want to be a scientist because I love science,” he says.

Smith encourages more teachers to invest in cultivating good spellers.

“We wish Mateo well in his exploits and have the greatest assurance that he will be an excellent ambassador for our school, district and the Western Cape Province,” says Smith.

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