Chile has a SpellEvent Champion. He comes from Colegio Santa Maria de Maipú, in Santiago. His name is Oscar Rosas Stange. In the picture above we can appreciate the moment when he fully realised his dream, and became consciously aware that he had become the champion.
It was for me an amazing moment. Unforgettable. I was privileged to watch the emotional moment of someone who had achieved an impossible dream, an unhoped for dream, a longed for dream.
Somewhere within me I had the presence of mind to be the first one to congratulate the Runner Up, second place finisher. I said my congratulations softly and said how great she had performed. In that moment of coming so close, almost getting first-place, but finishing second, she was not alone.
I knew Oscar would be fine. I watched as his classmates and fellow competitors from his school came up to hug him, and shed tears of joy. It was a moment I doubt I will ever find the words to describe adequately.
I looked at his teacher, Mrs. Marta Araya, with tears of redemptive joy flowing unashamedly from her eyes. We had spoken months earlier about her hopes for her students. She had told me that just having her students participate was a great accomplishment for her school.
She had told me of her trials and tribulations in motivating the students to learn English. She had turned to Spelling as one of her principal motivators. However, at her school, there are only 4 hours a week dedicated to English. She was clearly at a disadvantage, and didn’t dare dream that she had a real chance to have her students place in the final four, let alone win.
Oscar changed all that. One could see that he was a humble person, humility flowing from him like water. Again, the picture above clearly shows the wonderful person that Oscar is.
I am certain that when Oscar woke up this morning, the day after, he must have pinched himself. Yes, it’s real. You won Oscar. You won for yourself, for your family, for your school, for the future of public education in Chile.
Oscar, your victory was a victory for everyone. For all those who don’t believe they can achieve, your victory contradicts their hopelessness. Your victory says if we dare to dream big dreams, and then work hard to make those dreams come true, that big things are possible.
Thank you Oscar. We all owe you a debt of gratitude. You have showed all of us what we can do.
Oh, and in New York. I really meant what I said to you: “Take some pictures for me.” I’ve never been there, but I know you will get some great pictures and some great memories. The best of luck to you.
Congratulations to you, Oscar Rosas Stange, Chile’s Champion Speller!