Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Dawn Spelling Bee 2015

December 12, 2015


The National Championship

THE National Championship for the ‘11th Dawn In Education Spelling Bee 2015’, was held in Islamabad on November 19, 2015.

The event was a highly anticipated one for the top 27 participants and of course for their schools and families too.

As the rounds started, silence took over the auditorium and each participant seemed impatient with hopes of winning this year’s Spelling Bee title.

Some words made them tense while others found them easy and spelled them in one go. When the magnificent afternoon concluded, the scores were accumulated and announced, leading to cheers. Winners were presented trophies, in addition to cash prizes and gifts from Oxford University Press.

Mr Jeff Sexton, Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs, the US Embassy, awarded the prizes and certificates to all the champions and runners up.

Age group 9-11: National Champion: Zaynah Abbas, Karachi Grammar School; First Runner-up: Omar Saqib, Karachi Grammar School, and the Second Runner-up: Fatima Eshaal, Froebels International School, Lahore.

Age group 12-14: National Champion: Jazim Nadeem, EMS High School, Islamabad; First Runner-up: Maaz Adnan, River Oaks Academy, Karachi; Second Runner-up: Rida Tariq, Convent of Jesus & Mary School, Lahore.

Age group 15-17: National Champion: Fatima Karim Kundi, EMS High School for Girls, Islamabad; First Runner-up: Sadaf Tauseef, EMS High School for Girls, Islamabad; and Second Runner-up: Munema Zahid from Lahore Grammar School, Model Town.

enter image description here
enter image description here
Islamabad Regional Championship

By Anam Butt

ON October 27, 2015, the stage of Islamabad Club was all set to host the Spelling Bee Islamabad Regional Championship of the year. The pressure of the competition was apparent from the faces of the participants. As the competition was underway, one could hear the sigh of relief for the students when they heard “That is correct!” Obviously students who spelled incorrect walked off the stage with a heavy heart.

This was a three-day competition with multiple rounds and concluded on October 30, with nine winners qualifying for the National Round.

The 11th Dawn Spelling Bee Regional Competition 2015 in Islamabad was attended by the students from 25 different cities. Over 1250 students participated from 165 schools from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Murree, Abbottabad, Chakwal, Khewra, Taxila, Wah, Mirpur AJK, Kharian, Jehlum, Rawalkot, Nowshera, Gujrat, Attock, Skardu, Gilgit, Kachura and Khaplu.

Students travelled to Islamabad from far flung areas and although exhausted by the long journey, they still exuded enthusiasm and were excited to be a part of this competition.

Winners of the Skardu rounds were also very keen to participate at the Regional Championship in Islamabad. All the students played brilliantly and the list of winners is as follows:

Age group 9-11:

Regional Champion: Dia Ali Bakhtaver, Ace International Academy; First Runner-up: Naushirvan Ahmad Zaman, Froebel’s International School; and Second Runner-up: Natasha Saeed, Ace International Academy. All the three students participated for the first time in the competition.

Age group 12-14:

Regional Champion: Mariam Khan Wazir, EMS High School; First Runner-up: Usama Ali Khan, Islamabad College of Arts and Science; Second Runner-up: Jazim Nadeem, EMS High School, who had been the National Champion twice and has been participating in this competition for the past five years now.

Age group 15-17:

Regional Champion: Sadaf Tauseef, EMS High School; First Runner-up: Khadija Inam ul Haq, Roots School System Flagship Campus DHA; Second Runner-up: Fatima Karim Kundi, EMS High School. n


enter image description here
enter image description here
Jeff Sexton

Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs, The US Embassy, Islamabad

IT was an honour to attend the final round of competition for the 11th Annual Dawn in Education National Spelling Bee on November 19, 2015. We at the US Embassy in Islamabad are proud of how popular the event has become with students and families throughout Pakistan, and are delighted to be part of this important event.

Congratulations to the winners!

The Dawn Spelling Bee is not just a competition, but a celebration of scholars, educators and parents who value the importance of language and communication. Spelling bees help foster academic achievement and encourage confidence, develop literacy skills, and promote good sportsmanship. Beyond building life skills such as public speaking, educational programmes like the Dawn Spelling Bee provide a platform for students and educators to connect to opportunities in higher education, shaping the future for many of the young scholars who participate. I encourage all students to consider participating in spelling bees or similar opportunities while they are in school. These experiences are invaluable.

The US Mission to Pakistan has a range of the US government-funded exchanges and programmes that provide opportunities to study in the United States, and we welcome the Spelling Bee participants and all Pakistani students, to pursue these opportunities to study abroad. Whether you are interested in a year at an American high school, a semester at a US university, a Fulbright scholarship, or one of the many cultural and educational events we host throughout the year, you can visit our website,, and like our Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

I’d like to acknowledge all the regional and national 2015 Spelling Bee participants: your dedication, determination and passion for education are an inspiration to your families, schools and your nation. You should be proud of your accomplishments. You are among the best and brightest in Pakistan!

I also want to thank all the parents and teachers who have trained and supported the students, and the Dawn staff for all of the hard work on this successful competition. The US Embassy is proud to have sponsored this event and we look forward to continuing to offer our support in the future.

Congratulations and well done!

Ameena Saiyid

MD Oxford University Press Director, Karachi and Islamabad Literature Festivals

AS soon as the new academic year begins, schools and students begin to gear up for a much-awaited academic event, Dawn’s Spelling Bee.

Dawn took this initiative in 2005 and since then there has been no looking back. From a first-ever event in Karachi, Spelling Bee is now held across the country, and Dawn is to be commended for its effective management as the number of participating schools and students continue to rise.

Oxford University Press is proud to support Dawn in its efforts to strengthen students’ language skills, build their confidence by raising their vocabulary levels, and improve their communication and collaboration skills by bringing together students from all over the country on a common platform.

Congratulations to Dawn and all participants and winners on the successful conclusion of Spelling Bee 2015 and best wishes for the future.

Lahore regional championship

By Rabeea Salman

THE conclusion of Lahore Regional Championship Final of the 11th DAWN Spelling Bee Competition 2015 was an epic moment celebrated with a standing ovation in between tears of disappointment and excellence.

This year over 1600 students from 235 schools across different cities of Punjab including Lahore, Multan, DG Khan, Faisalabad, Gojra, Sialkot, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Okara, Sahiwal, Mailsi, Bahawalnagar, Mandi Bahauddin, Muzaffargarh, Layyah, Sargodha, Kasur, Kharian, Bahawalpur, Muridke, Khanewal, Daska, Rahim Yaar Khan, Phalia, Sheikhupura and Jhang participated in the Lahore Regional Championship Round.

It was very heartening to see kids from far-flung areas travelling hundreds of miles to showcase their spelling prowess. They did not let the exhaustion of travel mar their determination to make a mark at the competition.

The quest for the Regional winners began amidst tears and cheers at the Multan Pool Rounds on October 7 & 8, then moving to Faisalabad on October 13 and finally the five-day marathon in Lahore which commenced on October 27, 2015 at the Ali Institute of Education. The winners of these rounds eventually battled it out to win the Regional titles on November 2, 2015.

Age group 9-11: Regional Champion: Fatima Eshaal, Froebel’s International School; First Runner-up and Second Rupper-up: Abdullah Ayub and M. Hasham Khan, respectively, both from Beaconhouse School System Palm Tree Boys, Gujranwala.

Age group 12-14: Regional Champion: Hira Fatima Mallick, Lahore Grammar School; First Runner-up: Rida Tariq, Convent of Jesus & Mary, Lahore; Second Runner-up: Nawal Rauf, Lahore Grammar School, Shahjamal,

Age group 15-17: Regional Champion: Munema Zahid, Lahore Grammar School, Model Town; First runner-up: Maryam Rauf, Multan Public School & College for Girls; Second Runner-up: M. Ahsan Shafique, Lahore Grammar School, Senior, Multan

The Chief Guest Jeramee Rice, Management Officer, US Consulate General Lahore, distributed the shields, certificates and prizes amongst the regional winners.

The 11th DAWN In Education Spelling Bee Competition was organised in partnership with United States Embassy with the judges being courtesy Oxford University Press.

enter image description here
enter image description here
Karachi Regional Championship

By Shazia Hasan

THERE was once this gentleman who was invited to a dance party by some of his younger friends. Although he really enjoyed the party, his arthritis prevented him from staying there for long. So when his knees starting hurting too much from standing up for too long, he just left.

But later, realising that he should have thanked his hosts for inviting him there he wrote them a note. So he wrote an email to the hosts. This is how it went: “I am most great full [should have been ‘grateful’] for being invited to your party. Sorry, I could not stay for long as I have bad niece [should have been ‘knees’].”

And not sure what to make of the note, one of his hosts replied: “You have a bad niece? How is your nephew?”

On receiving the response and forgetting what he had written in his own email initially, the gentleman disgustedly mumbled to himself, “Young people these days turn everything, even an old man’s physical problems, into a joke!” Promising himself to never speak to his obnoxious hosts again he broke off all ties with them.

Arthritis, quite obviously, was not the poor gentleman’s only problem. Although he spoke good English, he just couldn’t spell right. And that is why he used a computer to write as the writing programme in it included a spelling checker. But a machine after all is just a machine, capable of making mistakes doesn’t a brain like humans, so the computer couldn’t differentiate between ‘knees’ and ‘niece’ or ‘grateful’ and ‘great full’.

So if you can’t spell right, a computer and even the best word processors in the world can’t really save you. The spelling bee can help you there though.

For 11 years now, Dawn has been working with schools and organisations to help students develop their spelling skills. That’s what the youngsters, proudly representing their schools, were doing on the stage during the Dawn Spelling Bee competition over these past few weeks. Concentrating on word spellings after carefully listening to their pronunciations, the contestants spell out the words put to them to proceed through the rounds.

You need a good ear to figure out a word’s spelling even if you are not so familiar with the word itself. Added assistance comes in the form of the pronouncer giving its meaning or using it in a sentence if requested to do so. And there is enough time for it, too. You may ask him or her to repeat the word, give its meaning or use it in a sentence for which you are given 40 seconds.

No matter how sure you are of knowing the correct spelling of a given word, it is always advised to wait, ask the pronouncer to repeat or give its meaning and use it in a sentence. Otherwise and overconfident person can get a nasty jolt on hearing “incorrect” from the panel and someone who’s unsure but still tries after requesting to repeat a word several times, may actually get its spelling right.

There have also been occasions where a word, said to be spelled incorrectly, was then called “correct” after students appealed or they are given another word to spell having been given the benefit of doubt. Recently, the pronouncer or jury reconsidered several spellings after noticing that a student had given its alternate spelling, which was also correct.

This year the regional championships also saw participants from Balochistan. And so our busy bee will remain busy turning nectar from different flowers from all over the country into sweet honey.

This year, too, the Spelling Bee Regional Championship was held at the Karachi Arts Council.

As always, the competition had three categories based on age groups — ages 9-11, 12-14 and 15-17. The chief guest was Mr Brian Heath, the US Counsel General. The panel of judges did their job judiciously too, which included the reputable Rukhsana Ahsan and Faryal Farooq from Oxford University Press (OUP). The pronouncers for Regional Championship were: Ronald Algie, Shirley Valika and Momin Zafar.

The Regional Champions were:

Age group 9-11: Regional champion: Zaynah Abbas, Karachi Grammar School; First runner-up: Omar Saqib, Karachi Grammar School; Second runner-up:

Rehmah Malik, The Indus Academy

Age group 12-14: Regional Champion: Zeeshan Rasool, Karachi Grammar School; First runner-up: Sanea Malik, Karachi Grammar School; Second runner-up: Maaz Bin Adnan, River Oaks Academy

Age group 15-17: Regional champion: Nazish Talati, Karachi Grammar School; First runner-up: Nasrullah Khan, Karachi Grammar School; Second runner-up: Zahra Salman, Karachi Grammar School.