14-Year-Old from Ghana Beats the Odds, Makes Finals in Scripps National Spelling Bee!

If someone asked you to spell “hauberk” how would you do? What about “senescent”? These are two words that Afua Ansah Manukure, of Ridge Church School in Accra, Ghana, spelled correctly and helped land her in the finals of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee, held in Washington, D.C.

The 14-year-old is the first finalist to represent Ghana. She is able to do so after winning the 9th edition of the Spelling Bee finals held in her home country. The competition is aimed at increasing literacy and the proper use of the English language. Newsnet 5 in Cleveland reported:

“I am feeling very proud to be doing this on behalf of my country,” Afua said. “I feel like an ambassador of Ghana so I am proud to carry the flag of my country at the finals.”

What Afua has already been able to accomplish has been against the odds. Ghana has one of the worst female literacy rates in the world at 71.4 percent. Afua’s coach Emmanual Afful hopes that Afua’s success in the Bee is something that can inspire their African nation.

In front of the stage, holding her nation’s flag, she politely answered questions from reporters after being crowned as Ghana’s first ever finalist. Afua, a native of the Ghanaian capital of Accra, is experiencing America for the first time, just as the Spelling Bee is experiencing a Ghanaian finalist for the first time.

Like many of the other finalists who will be attending the Bee, Afua has been enjoying our nation’s capital. She has visited the monuments and zoo, as well as a Ferris wheel along the Potomac River. Unlike many of the other finalists in the competition however, Afua has never seen these things before.

“We don’t have those in Ghana,” she said. “We tried it and it was awesome.”

Be sure to catch the 89th Scripps International Spelling Bee on ESPN2! And don’t forget to cheer on the competition’s first ever finalist from Ghana. Everyone will surely be watching to see how she does. Congrats, Afua!