Wordsmith Wonders: A Peek Into The Lives Of Previous MTN mPulse Spelling Bee Champions

Goosebumps! That is what we typically get when we witness groundbreaking events that thrill us. Adrenaline causes tiny muscles beneath our skin to contract, tugging at the roots of the hairs that cover our bodies. At that moment, we are gobsmacked, and excited and wouldn’t want to thread the feeling for anything in the world. 

That is what happens when we experience word wizards spelling a broad selection of words with varying degrees of difficulty. We’ve witnessed this occurrence repeatedly, as seen in the case of Snow George, a 15-year-old secondary school student who astounded the audience by triumphing over 16,000 participants to become the 2020 champion of the MTN mPulse Spelling Bee competition.

Snow as at the time of the competition was a student of Starville School, Abuja. Although it was an end-to-end virtual competition, she had familiarised herself with technology so much that the struggle of how to navigate her devices didn’t exist. In fact, her victory earned her the title of the first-ever winner of the MTN mPulse spelling bee competition. Of course! Such a feat deserves to be rewarded, so the scholarship she was offered worth millions of naira courtesy of MTN Nigeria and other amazing prizes she accumulated for herself, her English teacher, and her school was befitting.

Akinyele Ademoyegun, a young and confident student from Kaydel Comprehensive College in Lagos, displayed his calm yet competitive nature during the digital spelling bee competition. Despite being just 12 years old and an SS 1 student, he defeated over 13,000 participants by seamlessly spelling challenging words like Antiquarian, Herbaceous, Kemite, and Abyss, ultimately securing his victory in the competition in 2021.

Akinyele’s dedication to practice paid off, as he revealed that he extensively studied for the competition. He diligently read his dictionary day and night, putting in the effort to familiarise himself with tough words. This commitment to preparation undoubtedly contributed to his impressive performance in the spelling bee competition.

With this extra level of attention, his win didn’t come as a surprise, especially to his English teacher who had predicted his success thanks to his focus and sheer determination.

A scholarship grant of N2 million, a laptop, a smartphone, an mPulse goody bag was awarded to him. Additionally, the English teacher, Mrs. Anene Oluebube, received N350,000 in cash and a new laptop. Kaydel Group of Schools was also presented with 10 laptops and 10 Hynet modems from MTN.

Kate Ene David, the exceptionally brilliant secondary school student from Intimacy with Christ Secondary School, Nasarawa State will go down in history as the first-ever female CEO of MTN Nigeria. How impressive!

The unassuming 13-year-old contestant, known for her composed and reserved disposition, initially went unnoticed in the competition. However, she steadily progressed from the initial top 20 participants to reach the top 5, and eventually secured a spot in the top 3. It was only at this point that whispers about her potential victory began to circulate, as the audience started to acknowledge the impressive spelling abilities concealed beneath her calm and collected demeanor.

Kate won the competition when she correctly spelled the word “acquiesce” defeating two other top spellers. The phenomenal moment was captured across multiple clicks of cameras from the media and awed audience. Kate was the star of the competition.

She progressed to assume the position of CEO at MTN Nigeria’s HQ for a day. During her tenure as CEO, she met with the company’s executives. At a press conference held later that day, she announced the launch of mPulse education data bundles that students now enjoy today. The bundles offer discounted rates for students and young people.

This remarkable day is not such that the 13-year-old champion will forget in a hurry.

Snow George, Akinyele Ademoyegun, and Kate Ene David exemplify a tale of perseverance and commitment. Achieving the status of a youthful prodigy and linguistic virtuoso is no simple feat. It demands a higher level of determination beyond the typical student endeavours to maintain their exceptional standing.

The 2023 edition of the MTN mPulse Spelling Bee competition is now open for primary and secondary school students between 9 and 15 years of age. This year’s edition is a blend of digital and physical events with the grand finale to happen at the MTN Plaza, Falomo, Ikoyi.

This year’s top 20 finalists will rack up over N18 million worth of prizes including cutting-edge smartphones, laptops, goody bags, and many more.  The winner of the competition will be rewarded with a scholarship grant and will become MTN Nigeria’s CEO for a day, and the face of mPulse for a year!

Students may register to participate on the mPulse Website, provided they are registered on the mPulse plan.

Students who want to migrate to the mPulse plan should text the word ‘mPulse’ to 344 or dial *344*1#. The mPulse website features learning resources and practice materials that participants can leverage for the competition.

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