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Stage fright of dinosaur proportions saw Wan Nur Farha Afina Wan Fauzi of SK Anak Ikan bow out in the first round of the SIR primary-level competition in Terengganu.
Stage fright of dinosaur proportions saw Wan Nur Farha Afina Wan Fauzi of SK Anak Ikan bow out in the first round of the SIR primary-level competition in Terengganu.

KUALA TERENGGANU (NST): At 0.9 metres and tipping the scale at a mere 15kg, Wan Nur Farha Afina Wan Fauzi was an unlikely contestant at the state RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right Challenge at the Terengganu Trade Centre.

As the Year Three pupil of SK Anak Ikan in Besut walked onto the stage, some gasped while others smiled at the gumption she displayed in taking on others older and much bigger than her.

Her feet could not touch the ground much as she tried to get comfortable on her chair.

The headphone barely fit her head and she was having trouble adjusting the microphone to suit her height but Wan Nur Farha Afina proved she was a game trier.

But despite her best efforts, the nine-year-old bowed out in the first round after failing to spell “dinosaur”, a word that she later said she knew how to spell but had misspelled due to nervousness.
The team yesterday was a two-family affair: Wan Nur Farha Afina and her brother Wan Fikru Humaidi, 11; and sisters Nur Syaheera Aina Che Baharuddin, 9, and Nur Hanani Sofiah, 10.

Met after the prize-giving ceremony, Wan Nur Farha Afina admitted to getting cold feet after facing the largest crowd she had ever seen in her life.

“I was sad that I could not spell the word right but I was also happy that I was able to leave the stage! I kept feeling like going to the restroom throughout the entire time.”

Wan Nur Farha Afina’s ambition is to become a teacher like her father, Wan Fauzi Wan Husssin, who teaches English at the school.

Wan Fauzi said he had picked Wan Nur Farha Afina, Wan Fikru Humaidi, Nur Syaheera Aina and Nur Hanani Sofiah to enter the competition purely to gain experience.

“The competition is still new to us at the school and I realised that none of the older students was keen to participate.

“So I thought it would be a good idea to give exposure to pupils from Year Three, Four and Five.

“At least, they now know what the tournament is all about.

“And, judging by what they say, the chances are that we will be competing next year,” said Wan Fauzi who was fine with the fact that none of his students had managed to spell even a single word right.

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PEMENANG pertama Spell It Right, Aaron (tengah), tempat kedua Nurul Naazira (kiri) dan tempat ketiga, Syed Ahmad Hisham.

KUALA TERENGGANU (Berita Harian): Murid Tahun Lima Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Sultan Sulaiman I (SK Sultan Sulaiman), Aaron Khor Ghaik Neng muncul johan kategori individu pertandingan Cabaran Spell-It-Right (SIR) anjuran bersama akhbar New Straits Times (NST) dan Kumpulan Bank RHB (RHB).

Dengan kemenangan itu, beliau membawa pulang hadiah wang tunai RM1,000 dan akan mewakili Terengganu ke SIR Peringkat Kebangsaan pada 8 Ogos depan di Kuala Lumpur.

Aaron menewaskan tiga pesaing, Nurul Naazira Che Azemin, 11, dari SK Tengku Mahmud II; Syed Ahmad Hisyam Engku Taufiq, 12, (SK Pusat Chabang Tiga) dan Noor Ezzah Hayati Nawawi, 12, dari SK Rengas Bekah melalui tiga pusingan yang memerlukan beliau mengeja perkataan ‘restive’, ‘resonance’ dan ‘villainous’.

Nurul Naazira yang mendapat tempat kedua meraih hadiah wang tunai RM800 dan Syed Ahmad Hisyam menerima RM500 selaku pemenang tempat ketiga dalam pertandingan diadakan di Pusat Dagangan Terengganu itu.

Bagi kategori sekolah, juara diraih SK Sultan Sulaiman, Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan China Chung Hwa Wei Sin di tempat kedua dan SK Pusat Chabang Tiga menduduki tempat ketiga. Masing-masing membawa pulang hadiah wang tunai RM1,000, RM800 dan RM500.

Aaron yang pertama kali menyertai SIR berkata, kemenangan itu mungkin didorong oleh hobinya yang suka melayari internet dan membaca buku serta akhbar berbahasa Inggeris bagi meningkatkan keupayaan dan penguasaan dalam bahasa itu.

“Setiap kali saya jumpa perkataan yang susah, saya akan catat, cari makna dan hafal ejaannya.

“Selepas ini, saya perlu membuat persiapan rapi untuk mewakili Terengganu ke peringkat kebangsaan. Saya sangat gembira dengan kemenangan ini dan berjanji akan memberikan yang terbaik untuk memastikan kejayaan Terengganu,” katanya.

Gurunya, Yusnita Md Yunus, berkata pemilihan Aaron untuk mewakili sekolah ke pertandingan itu bersama tiga rakannya, Foo Siang Sen, 12; Adriana Amira Ngah Jamsani, 12 dan Jeremiah Thomas P Koshy, berdasarkan ujian saringan awal membabitkan 82 murid.

Sementara itu, Nurul Naazira berkata, beliau berhasrat menyumbangkan sebahagian wang hadiah dimenanginya kepada rakan sekolahnya yang miskin dan membelanja rakan serta guru yang banyak memberi dorongan, sokongan dan membantunya sepanjang menjalani latihan.

Syed Ahmad Hisyam pula berkata, kejayaannya adalah hasil usaha gigih, yang menjadikan akhbar NST sebagai bahan bacaan utama setiap hari selain kerap membuat latihan penulisan dalam bahasa Inggeris.

Pertandingan Cabaran SIR bertujuan meningkatkan penguasaan kemahiran bahasa Inggeris pada generasi muda terutama pelajar sekolah di negara ini.

Sebanyak sembilan sekolah menyertai cabaran SIR itu yang turut mendapat penajaan daripada restoran makanan segera, McDonald’s, yang menyumbang makan tengah hari percuma untuk peserta, guru dan ibu bapa.

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