Nine-year-old crowned winner of Big Spell 2017, takes home top prize of $5,000

(From left) First runner-up Raghav Kumar of Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), winner Eashaa Pillai of Raffles Girls' Primary School and second runner-up Lee I-Shiang of Rosyth School.
(From left) First runner-up Raghav Kumar of Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), winner Eashaa Pillai of Raffles Girls' Primary School and second runner-up Lee I-Shiang of Rosyth School. ST PHOTO: ANG YIYING
ST VIDEO: ANG YIYING
The 18 pupils getting ready to compete as The Big Spell finals kick off.
The 18 pupils getting ready to compete as The Big Spell finals kick off. ST PHOTO: ANG YIYING

SINGAPORE - With a "braggadocio", Eashaa Pillai, nine, a Primary 5 pupil from Raffles Girls' Primary School won the sixth edition of the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship on Saturday (April 22).

In second place was Raghav Kumar, nine, a Primary 4 pupil from Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), while in third place was Lee I-Shiang, 12, a Primary 6 pupil from Rosyth School.

The champion speller took home $5,000 and her school received the challenge trophy. The second-placed bagged $3,000 and the third-placed won $1,000.

They beat out 15 other competitors to take the top three spots in an intense final round at ITE College Central.

Along the way, finalists attempted words such as "chintz", "chromosomal" and "fiacre".

The 18 finalists emerged cream of the crop after a preliminary written round last month (March 11) and a semi-final oral round earlier this month (April 1).

Presenting the prizes was the guest of honour, Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Trade and Industry. 

Addressing the competitors and audience at the start of the event, Ms Low said: "Learning to spell well and learning to spell right is crucial to mastering the English language."

She added that pupils also developed good attributes through the competition.

She said: "As you grow in tenacity, courage, resilience and sportsmanship, you are already on your way to becoming a champion of good character."

The event is co-organised by RHB Banking Group and The Straits Times for the sixth year, in partnership with the Ministry of Education. It is supported by the National Library Board and ITE College Central as technology partner. 

Visit http://www.straitstimes.com/big-spell-2017 for more information on the championship and to follow all the action.