Wed | Apr 8, 2020

Top Bees make a splash at FDR

Published:Monday | February 17, 2020 | 12:08 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Champion speller Tori-Ann Beckford unwinds after the months of preparation for the intense Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee Competition, which she won on February 5.
Second-place bee Israel Burnett pauses for a quick snap in the pool.
Third-place speller Zarah Wallace poses for a photo during her fun weekend at FDR.

The Franklyn D Resort and Spa (FDR) in Runaway Bay, St Ann, once again hosted the top spellers from the annual Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee Competition for a weekend at the family hotel.

Champion speller Tori-Ann Beckford of McAuley Primary School in Spanish Town, St Catherine; Israel Burnett of St George’s College in Kingston, who placed second; and third-place speller Zarah Wallace of Tomlinson’s Christian Academy in Ocho Rios, St Ann, basked in the warm atmosphere at the hotel.

Tori-Ann’s grandmother, Winsome Hines, and her coach, Derrol Campbell, along with Zarah’s coach, Meleithia Lawrence, and Israel’s father, Jason Burnett, also made the trip for an unforgettable weekend.

“I’m enjoying myself,” the champion Bee told The Gleaner. “I was swimming in the pool, playing tag, and that was fun. The food is really delicious. I enjoyed the burger and fries the most.”


Her grandmother, like everyone else, was equally impressed.

“It’s been hospitable. It’s a lovely place and I’m enjoying myself, and I know the children are enjoying themselves, too,” she said.

“I went on the glass-bottom boat and it was lovely. I saw the fish; I saw everything under the water. It was a bit scary, but it was nice. The food now, the food is great! I enjoyed the jerked pork and the grilled fish; and I’m a pastry lover, so I enjoyed all the different types of pastry. I’m happy that I’m here for the weekend,” Hines added as she relaxed.

Executive Assistant Manager at FDR, Trishawana Davidson, said the hotel is always happy to host the young spellers and their support teams each year.

“It’s always a pleasure to partner with The Gleaner to host these bright youngsters for the weekend here at FDR,” she said. “After a demanding competition such as the Spelling Bee, it’s only fitting that they find the right place to come and unwind, and they themselves said it, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. And we take this opportunity to wish Tori-Ann all the best in the Scripps.”

Tori-Ann, along with spellers from The Bahamas, Ghana, Japan and Korea, will take part in what is the United States National Spelling Bee competition, Scripps, in May.