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October 15, 2011 was marked on our calendars as the Karachi Regional Championship of the Dawn in Education National Spelling Bee, in collaboration with the US Embassy, Islamabad, where participants from all across Sindh and Baluchistan region, competed at the regional level for the top notch position in the region.

A total participation of 320 schools only from Karachi and another 60 from Hyderabad had now narrowed down to the top 64 schools to compete against the best of the best, to secure a Regional Championship position.

But the buzz in the hall, the pleasant breeze outside the auditorium and the hustle and bustle, the sheer silence on stage once the competition had started was portraying a bigger picture. Just a day before the Karachi Regional Final, we had witnessed a thrilling battle between the schools from Quetta against Karachi’s schools in the younger age group. The organisers along with the judges and pronouncers were ecstatic for the Quetta schools to qualify at the regional level.

After a truly spectacular round in Hyderabad, the outstation qualifying schools for the Karachi Regional Final were Army Public School (Pano Aqil Cantt), County Cambridge School (Hyderabad), Victor Public Girls Higher Secondary School (Hyderabad), Bahria Foundation College (Hyderabad), Sargodhian Spirit Trust School (Rashidabad), The Guardian School of Excellence (Hyderabad) and the Pak Turk School and Colleges (Quetta.)

The competition had kept the audiences and the organisers glued to their seats, and they were craving for some stellar spelling action. The competition was truly dominated by our male participants, taking all of us by surprise. The youngest age group event was won by Asfandyar Khan, of Headstart School, who truly won the hearts of all, with his sheer charisma, confidence and innocence.

Among all the excitement and drama, the kids with super spelling powers proved their worth and the best were tested rigorously with elimination rounds, proceeding to at least 10 elimination rotations. The ones who proved themselves as stellar spellers were Asfadyar Khan of Headstart School, Babar Kamal and Hannah Yasin of Karachi Grammar School, in the youngest group of 9-11. Faizan Farrukh of The City School PECHS, Hira Suman of The City School, Darakhshan Branch, and Shehrayar Khalid of Metropolis Education System, Water Pump Campus, in the 12-14 age group.

Amongst the older group, we had Sameer Ahmed and Amna Ahmed of the Generation’s School, and Ghufran Rafique of St.

Patrick’s High School.

The competition was judged by Ms Rukhsana Ahsan, and Angela Hasan, from OUP and the pronouncers for the day were, Zareen Hasan, Shirley Valika and Humaira Junaid, who were enthralled by a truly heart-wrenching and nail-biting competition.