8-Y-O Spelling Champion Making Portlanders Proud

Saturday, February 10, 2024, 11:50 AM GMT-5

As he continues to make strides locally, 8-year-old spelling champion Dayton Jennings has been praised for representing and making his fellow Portlanders proud.

A student of the Nonsuch Primary School, Jennings began his National Spelling Bee journey at the age of seven. Jennings is now a two-time Portland parish champion, having taken home the title back-to-back on the national stage at age seven and eight.


The young champion competed in the National Spelling Bee in Kingston on February 7, competing against multiple older children, including high schoolers. Jennings spelt nine of the ten words he was given correctly but did not advance to the final round.

Despite not making it to the finals, Jennings is being lauded for his efforts. One ardent supporter of Jennings is his principal, Marlise Cowie-Adiansingh, who described him as a school role model.

Cowie-Adiansingh also highlighted that if he was not presented with the diction and comprehension sections more suited to the older students, he could have made it to the final.

Marlise Cowie-Adiansingh and Dayton Jennings

Further praising Jennings for his remarkable performances thus far was the Mayor of Port Antonio, Councillor Paul Stewart. Stewart dubbed the 8-year-old’s achievements thus far historic and emphasised their significance for someone his age.

Stewart went on to label Jennings “a true ambassador” of Portland. In regards to Jennings’ parental support, his mother, Simone Everett, has expressed that she is firmly standing in support of her son’s efforts, whether they result in wins or not.

“I had said after he won the Portland parish championship for the second year running that it doesn’t matter what the result at the national final would be; Dayton was already a winner,” Everett stated.

From left: Simone Everett,  Dayton Jennings, and his father Denzel Jennings

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