Sixteen-year-old Alissa Noel has been chosen as one of the seven junior representatives of the T&T Scrabble Association (T&TSA) to represent the country at the World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from August 29 to 31.
Noel, a form five St Augustine Girls High School student, remembers her first encounter with Scrabble at age ten.
"I was introduced to the game by my mother when I was younger as my father and sister never had a love for board games. She was happy to have someone to play with at last and it was a good way to spend time with her," she said.
She then entered her first competition in form one, the First Citizen's Bank 15th Annual School's Scrabble Tournament in 2010, where she placed second.
"I competed in my first competition in October 2010 when I was in form oneand then grew tolove playing scrabble competitively," she added.
Since then she has entered various national and international tournaments, including the bpTT National Secondary Schools Scrabble Championships in October 2012, where she placed first in the East Zone and second in the junior category. She also participated in the WYSC 2013 in Dubai, where she placed 40th out of 138 international players and first out of 8 T&T players.
What draws her to the game, she said, is her love for words, word games and foreign languages. The teen, who studies Spanish, French and Chinese, said that she loves learning how English words originate from foreign languages, and that studying languages helps her to memorise words for the game.
"I enjoy learning the new words that may not seem to be a word such as CRWTH which is an ancient stringed instrument."
Her highest score in competition is 593, and her highest score for a single word, "overseen", is 142.
She's been the captain of her school's scrabble team for almost a year, during which time she trained the school's form one students to win first place at the First Citizen's 19th Annual Schools scrabble tournament this year. She's also found time to attend piano lessons on Saturdays and steelpan classes at school twice a week.
Noel's family, along with her school and the T&TSA, are currently trying to raise funds for her trip to Sri Lanka. The T&T team will be the only Caribbean and regional representative at the WYSC, and this will be Noel's last opportunity to compete in the junior category because of the age requirements.Anyone who would like to contribute towards her expenses can contact them at 679-4043 and 758-6775, as well as via e-mail at terryali[email protected]
"I have excelled greatly and I continue to improve as my love for the game increases," Noel said. "I will continue to put my all into it as I may never know where this opportunity can take me. People supported me last year and I did not disappoint as I topped the country's team. If you give your support I ensure you that I will fly the nation's flag high."