A 10-year-old girl has triumphed over children across the world to reach second place in a worldwide spelling competition - and, incredibly, English is not her first language.
Martyna Lipska’s fierce focus knows no bounds. She set her mind on the top spot in the annual World Literacy Day competition which is held by video link and entered by hundreds across the world...and very nearly made it.
Martyna may seem familiar to some readers. This is because we featured her in the Journal’s pages in 2011 when she came in the top 50 in the same competition, and again last year when she finished in the top five.
The Isaac Newton Primary School pupil said: “In the previous years I took part and I got impressive scores, and I decided to have a challenge to get even better.
“I tried to practice every day and I played a few games at school to get ready. When the competition started, I had my headphones on and I thought to myself: ‘OK, I’ve got to do this.’
“Then I completed all the levels and then I realised that my ranking on the scoreboard was second. I told my parents when the competition finished that I came out second and they had as much joy as me. They are very proud of my achievements.”
Martyna competed in the eight to 10 age category, with competitors in other categories as young as four and as old as 18. Countries taking part included Kuwait, Australia, Pakistan, India and Malaysia.
Unsurprisingly, literacy is Martyna’s favourite subject at school. And although she does not yet know which career path she would like to take following education, her drive to succeed will surely see her do well.
Headteacher Stephen Tapley said: “I’m very proud of her. We’re thrilled. That English is not her first language and to be able to achieve this in her second language is really quite a feat.”