Speller thanks all who helped

To the editor:

I would like to take a moment after this year’s spelling bee to once again thank the Herald-Star, Amtrak, Uniglobe Travel, Huntington Bank, Eastern Gateway Community College, the Rotary Club of Steubenville, the Ohio Lottery Commission, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Amazon and Merriam-Webster, who were sponsors of this year’s Jefferson-Harrison County Regional Spelling Bee, provided all of the prizes I received for winning the bee and, most important, the all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

I would also like to thank all of the corporations, businesses and individuals who placed advertisements on the Herald-Star’s “Good Luck” page. Competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee for the second time was just as great (maybe even better) than it was competing for the first time.

The trip was a lot of fun for my family and me. We got to see a few Smithsonians and memorials in Washington, D.C., but since we got to see many of the memorials last year, we had more time to just walk around and explore National Harbor as well. One memorable moment this year was walking from National Harbor, Md., to New Alexandria, Va., which took approximately one hour.

The competition was very suspenseful and very exciting for my family and me. With each word that was given, the tension grew. However, I was again eliminated in the preliminary rounds after the spelling and vocabulary computer test, but I achieved a better score on the test this year than I did last year, scoring a 23 rather than a 16. I tied for 47th place with nearly 150 other people out of 281 competitors. Some of the competitors were friends whom I made last year; it was so exciting to see them again.

Now that my final spelling bee is over, I must turn my attention to other activities this school year. I plan on playing football, participating in marching band, playing a role in the school musical, and honing my computer programming and videogame skills at home.

I will do my best in anything that I choose to do this school year, both with academic activities and with extracurricular activities. I will come back to watch next year’s regional spelling bee, and I will hopefully watch the national spelling bee on television.

In closing, I would like to thank the Herald-Star and all other sponsors of the Jefferson-Harrison County Regional Spelling Bee for a great two-year spelling bee experience, and for a wonderful academic competition. I would also like to thank the local communities, especially the people of Toronto, for encouraging me to become a better student and speller every day.

Nathan Keenan

Toronto