Imagine a room filled with youthful anticipation, where the power of words hangs in the air like electricity. The Kidato Spelling Bee Competition, held in partnership with the Kenya National Spelling Bee, transformed a sunny Saturday morning into an unforgettable spectacle of talent, determination, and inspiration. Over 100 gifted participants from schools across the country converged at the Kidato Campus in Lavington,  each one longing to seize the coveted championship title and a grand prize that promised to be nothing short of extraordinary.

Kidato Campus in Lavington.

From the moment the participants arrived, accompanied by their enthusiastic teachers, parents, and guardians, an atmosphere of excitement permeated the air. The room buzzed with anticipation as they registered and began their preparations. Fuelled by determination and a competitive spirit, they eagerly practiced spelling words from the competition's list. Parents watched with pride, providing encouragement and support.

The competition kicked off with an initial round designed to ease the spellers into the contest, featuring accessible words that were, for the most part, spelled successfully. As the rounds progressed, the stakes grew higher, and the pressure mounted. Each participant had only 20 seconds to spell each word, with a single mistake leading to disqualification. The stage showcased a procession of young talent, ranging from the youngest to the oldest participants. The competition's organizers were careful to tailor the difficulty of the words to the grade level, ensuring a fair and challenging experience for all. Mr. Maurice Omondi, an experienced judge, cheered on the participants, reminding them of their championship spirit.

Mr. Maurice Omondi the judge.

Unbeknownst to the contestants, a thrilling surprise awaited them. Midway through the competition, an announcement revealed the grand prize: a highly coveted piece of land in Nanyuki. This unexpected twist ignited a fresh wave of excitement among the attending guests. Safe to say “our ages were showing” It was at this point that most of us adults became willing participants ready to submit our registrations on behalf of ‘The School of Life”. However, fair play remained a priority, ensuring that only the students could compete for the prize. Nevertheless, the MC organized an exhilarating mini-spelling challenge for the parents, courtesy of the Kenya National Spelling Bee, adding a friendly and joyous element to the event. One of the parents who correctly spelled the word “competition” won a free T-shirt, so I guess that was rewarding.

Parents & Teachers capture and enjoy every moment.

After a short break, anticipation filled the air as the stage was set for the final round. Out of the talented pool of participants, four students emerged as finalists—Mathew Njue (grade 7), Michelle Joy (grade 6), Rick Oigo (grade 2) from Moi Primary School Kabarak, and Laura Wabomba (grade 6) from Nairobi Primary School. Displaying their exceptional spelling prowess, they flawlessly spelled the first five words, forcing the judge to raise the difficulty level. With unwavering composure, confidence, and determination, Rick and Laura advanced to the ultimate showdown to determine the champion.

The finalist from left to right: Mathew, Michelle, Rick & Laura.

In a heart-stopping finale that had spectators on the edge of their seats, Laura and Rick went head-to-head, showcasing their extraordinary spelling abilities. Teachers, acting as silent coaches, expressed their support through animated body language.

The entire room held its breath at this pivotal moment, captivated by the intense battle unfolding before their eyes. Laura and Rick displayed unwavering focus, their determination shining brightly. Tension filled the air as friends, parents, and fellow competitors watched in awe.

Student participants from different schools cheer on their fellow spellers.

And then it happened.

The final word that would determine the victor: "Espresso." Time seemed to stand still as Laura and Rick meticulously spelled out each letter, their eyes brimming with unwavering confidence. In that split second, the audience witnessed the culmination of countless hours of practice and dedication.

Rick's mother could not hold back her joy.

With a flourish, Rick flawlessly spelled the word, earning thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd. Disbelief and overwhelming joy illuminated his face. He had triumphed, emerging as the inaugural Kidato Spelling Bee champion and the proud newest and youngest owner of a stunning piece of land in Nanyuki courtesy of Risiih Investments.

Amidst jubilant celebrations, Rick was lifted high above the crowd, symbolizing his remarkable achievement. Parents, teachers, and fellow students beamed with pride, admiring his exceptional spelling talent and unwavering determination. As I observed the unfolding scene from a distance, my mind began to wander, lost in contemplation. It struck me with a sudden realization that many of the privileges and opportunities present in this moment were often reserved for those with influential family connections or achieved through years of relentless toil. This revelation left me pondering the inequities of life, prompting a surge of introspection as I reflected on the disparities I experienced while growing up.

Kidato CEO Sam Gichuru lifts Rick in the air, with Liz the founder of Risiih Investment holding the dummy title deed.

In the midst of all the excitement and joy, it was clear that some children may not have fully understood how important the Grand Prize was. But times are changing, and it's crucial for kids to learn about investments early on. Understanding investments helps them become financially independent and build a solid foundation for their future. That's why at Kidato, we offer Nano courses like financial literacy for kids, so they can start learning these skills from a young age. Kidato is a place where children not only learn, play, and explore, but also prepare for a successful and empowered future.

Congratulations to Rick Oigo, a true embodiment of resilience and dedication. As the winner, Rick now joins the prestigious Kidato Spelling Bee club, where young minds are nurtured and prepared to compete on global stages. This victory marks the beginning of an incredible journey, opening doors to local, regional, and international spelling competitions.

Parents and guardians, the Kidato Spelling Bee club offers a unique opportunity for your child to embark on a transformative language learning experience. Regardless of whether they are enrolled at Kidato or not, your child can participate and benefit from our expertly curated virtual sessions and carefully planned in-person interactions, predominantly held on weekends.

Together, we can unlock the true potential of your child's linguistic abilities and propel them towards greatness.

A resounding thank you goes out to the more than 15 schools and homeschooling communities that joined us in making this inaugural competition an outstanding success. Your unwavering support and commitment to fostering educational excellence are essential in creating a brighter future for our children. We eagerly anticipate future collaborations, working hand in hand to make the Kidato Spelling Bee competition even grander and more memorable for the benefit of all our young participants.

As the participants made their way out of the Campus, it was clear that the Kidato Spelling Bee Championship served as a powerful reminder of the remarkable talent and potential that lies within our young students. It ignited a spark of passion for language and a hunger for excellence. As we celebrate Rick's triumph and the incredible journey of all participants, we will continue to nurture and empower our children, enabling them to reach new heights of success, one word at a time.

Register now for the Spelling Bee Club and be part of the spellbinding journey!

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