THE proud mother of Wartburg Kirchdorf School Grade 7 pupil Monique Walkinshaw described her daughter as a hard working and dedicated pupil.Monique came first in the Spelling Bee competition held at Eastwood Hall recently. “I am so proud of her. She is one of the top children in the classroom. “Monique is such a dedicated and hardworking child. As a parent, I feel honoured to have a child like her,” said Megan Walkinshaw. The top ten Grade 7 spellers from both the Msunduzi Municipality and the uMshwathi Municipality participated in the Grand Finals of the 2019 Spelling Bee. The purpose of the spelling bee was to help pupils improve their spelling, increase their vocabulary, learn concepts, and develop correct language usage for a lifetime. uMshwathi Municipality Communications Officer Sibusiso Mkhithi said: “These are the same words which are used in the Department of Education competitions.“The Spelling Bee was originally established in response to a need within communities for a stimulating educational programme, outside the regular school curriculum, which would focus specifically on English language basics. “The programmes which we use are designed to contribute to the development of our youths’ self-esteem by creating pride in academic achievement and, in the process, help to build a solid foundation for their future education and careers.”Mkhithi said the uMshwathi Municipality Library Services embarked on this spelling bee outreach programme as part of their community service project to empower and educate learners through information. “Our goal is to encourage the youth to expand their vocabulary, communication skills and self-confidence by providing a foundation for future scholastic achievements,” Mkhithi said. The participating pupils came from schools which included Cool Air Primary School, Wartburg Kirchdorf School, Georgenau Combined School, Trustfeed Primary School, Albert Falls Primary School, New Hanover Farm School, Deccan Road Primary School, Green Hill Primary School, Newholmes Primary School, Northdale Primary School, Orient Heights Primary School, W A Lewitt Primary School, TPA Primary School, and Allandale Primary School.“The competition was extremely tough and it proved that all the pupils who participated are winners. “Each pupil proved that they all worked very hard for the competition,” Mkhithi said. The top four pupils went into another final elimination round until there were only three remaining. The first-place winner was Monique, who was followed in second place by Izbah Aboobucker from Allandale Primary School with Amira Aliee from W A Lewitt Primary School placing third. “We were all delighted that the first-place trophy was won by a pupil from uMshwathi Municipality.“This was indeed a unique event, with uMshwathi Municipality Library Services and Msunduzi Municipality Library Services collaborating and working together. “We will be working together on more outreach programmes, spelling bees and storytelling outreach programmes. By so doing we will be embracing the journey of uniting our municipalities and accomplishing sustainable development goals together,” Mkhithi added.