Six-time RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right Challenge champion Kenneth Wu Min Jin is pursuing his degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Tasmania, Australia. FILE PIC
Gretchen Tang

KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s premier national spelling competition has not only grabbed the attention of students and teachers, but parents as well.

Diehard fan of the annual RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right (SIR) Challenge, Gretchen Tang, 57, has travelled around the country for the past eight years to watch the preliminary round, state-level and national-level challenges.

Tang, whose son is six-time SIR champion Kenneth Wu Min Jin, said their family were avid fans of the event, even after her son had completed secondary school.

“My husband and I are here today to show our support for the event, as well as to the parents and students who will be participating in the competition. It is going to be an exciting journey.

“Coming here to meet the parents and their children takes me down memory lane as we used to bring our son to the spelling competitions,” she said at the competition’s launch yesterday.

Tang and her husband, Wu Swee Woo, spent the afternoon chatting with friends and people from an organising committee, whom they had known from past SIR events.

She said her son was pursuing his degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Tasmania, Australia.

“Kenneth is pursuing his studies overseas but he told me how he wished he could be here as he enjoys this competition. It was never about the prize money for him. He has a passion for this competition. Even after completing secondary school, he tutored state champions for past SIR competitions.”

Ong, who likened the yearly event to a “reunion”, said competitions as such had made their family grow closer.

“We went through ups and downs together. As parents, we need to give the support and encouragement that our children need.”

She said parents should help nurture the potential in their children by tapping into their talent.

“It is God’s blessing and this is my way of giving back to society. Don’t waste their talent, share it with the community.”