The Spelling Bee is hosted each year by the Portsmouth Civic Forum, and member Gene Arms said this year’s Bee was probably one of the best they have ever had.
“We had 312 seats set-up, and they were all in use but about 12 or 13,” Arms said.
Twenty-seven students from 24 school districts in Scioto County and Manchester participated, and from them were chosen four finalists.
This year’s first-place winner was Preston Ramey, a sixth-grader from Green Elementary. He competed in last year’s spelling bee, and finished in seventh place. This year he said he studied even harder, and it all payed off with the winning word — “coyote”.
Preston won a $300 savings bond and a trophy, and his mother also rewarded him with ice cream and a new iPod.
“We’re just very proud of him. He’s always been a good speller and a good student,” Preston’s mother, Erica Ramey, said.
Preston’s father, Eric Ramey, could not attend the County Spelling Bee, Preston said, because he was on a plane returning home from Iraq. Preston said he really enjoyed seeing his dad again.
The second-place winner was Mason Harris, a sixth-grader from Minford Middle School. Harris won a $200 savings bond and a trophy. Third-place winner was Jimmy Madden, a sixth-grader from Rubyville. Madden won dinner for four at Golden Corral, in New Boston, and a trophy. Fourth-place winner was Nate Marcum, a fifth-grader from Wheelersburg Middle School. Marcum won a college dictionary and a trophy.
All four winners advance to compete in the Regional Spelling Bee, in Columbus, on March 6. For those who win at the Regional Spelling Bee, they will advance to compete in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. on June 2-4.
This is the first time in four years that the County Spelling Bee has participated in the Regional and National Spelling Bees. Arms explained that they stopped participating when the sponsoring agency, E.W. Scripps, began requiring school districts to pay a $99 participation fee.
“The principals and superintendents and I had a discussion on it ... and we dropped that affiliation but we continued having ours, and having our awards,” Arms said. “The (South Central Ohio Educational Services Center) wanted us to get back into the competition this year, and they assisted in getting the Ohio Lottery Commission to pay the fee.”
This year’s spelling bee judges were Sharon Scott, Rep. Todd Book and Mike Payton. Recording this year was Larry Dale Mullins, and pronouncer was John Kizer.
More information about the National Spelling Bee can be found online at www.spellingbee.com.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.