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Front Page » March 17, 2009 » Scene » Region Spelling winners
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Region Spelling winners

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Kira Simpson, seventh grader from Albert R. Lyman middle school in Blanding is the 2009 Regional Spelling Bee Winner. The Bee was sponsored by the Southeast Education Service Center and held March 5, at Grand High School auditorium in Moab. The Service Center serves the four school districts in Carbon, Emery, Grand, and San Juan. Simpson will continue the competition against other top spellers throughout the nation at the Scripps Bee Week 2009, May 24-30.

For winning the Regional Bee, Kira received an all expense paid trip for two to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national bee, a trophy, $100 savings bond donated by Samuel Louis Sugarman, and a Webster's International Edition dictionary.

Second place honors went to McKinleigh Barney, sixth grader from Helen M. Knight Middle School in Moab. Finishing in third place was Shaydee Murray, seventh grade from Canyon View Junior High in Huntington. All three winners received a year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica Online. McKinleigh and Shaydee also received a $20 gift card to McKinleigh additionally received a Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

The students went through a rigorous 16 rounds as Larry Davis, Principal at Emery High, pronounced the words. By the 13th round three spellers were still in the running, but Shaydee misspelled "intractable." This left McKinleigh and Kira to battle for two more rounds. In the 15th, McKinleigh missed "tantalize" and Kira spelled "ambivalent." The rules required Kira to spell one more word correctly in the 16th and final round. She spelled "seltzer," making her the number one speller in the Region. Decision of correct spelling was ratified by a panel of judges: Theresa Wilson, Sam Sampier, and Johnna Boyack, all staff at the Southeast Education Service Center.

Fifteen contestants fourth-eighth grade had previously won top honors in their school and district spelling bees and to qualify and compete in Thursday's Regional Bee.

Contestants from Carbon included Nikkita Blain, eighth grade Mont Harmon; Georgann Cook, sixth, and Jordan Mills, fourth, both from Wellington. Emery District winners were Sydney Thayn, seventh grade, Green River, Shaydee Murray, seventh grade, Canyon View, and Braydon Roberts, fifth grade Cottonwood. Competitors from Grand District were Delaney Manley, sixth grade, McKinleigh Barney, sixth grade, and Jonathon Park fourth grade, all of Helen M. Knight Intermediate School. San Juan competitors were Kira Simpson and Eli Beck, both seventh graders from Albert R. Lyman Middle School, and Amber Gills, eighth grade from Monument High School. Students from Pinnacle Academy included Oscar Jeppson, sixth grade, Katie Reynolds, fifth grade, and John Muselmann, fourth grade.

The Scripps Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational promotion, administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company and sponsors in the United States, American Samoa, Canada, China, Europe, Ghana, Guam, Jamaica, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The champion of each sponsor's final spelling bee advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The Bee's purpose is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.

The Louisville Courier-Journal started the event with nine contestants in 1925. In 1941 Scripps assumed sponsorship of the program.

There was no Scripps National Spelling Bee during the World War II years of 1943, 1944, and 1945. Co-champions were declared in 1950, 1957, and 1962. Of the 84 champions, 43 have been girls and 41 have been boys.

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