It takes hard work to win bee

Just in case you need another reminder that hard work and preparation can really pay off, you need look no further than Zachary Kuntz.

Kuntz, a sixth-grader at Stanton Elementary School, survived nearly two hours of competition Saturday at Buckeye North Elementary School in Brilliant to win the 2019 Jefferson-Harrison County Regional Spelling Bee, Presented by the Herald-Star.

By correctly spelling “valence,” a noun defined by Merriam-Webster Inc. as the relative capacity to unite, react, or interact (as with antigens or a biological substrate), the son of Kasey and Brian Kuntz of Toronto won the annual bee and earned the right to represent our region in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will be held May 26-June 1 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

In addition to the competition, Kuntz and his family will be able to meet participants and their families from many parts of the world and take in the sights of Washington, D.C.

Each of the 50 participants in Saturday’s bee had survived a rigorous series of competitions that began shortly after they returned to school in August. They performed well in classroom bees, building bees and district bees to earn their spots. It’s a process that requires discipline and dedication and the willingness to spend countless hours studying lists of words and learning their usage as well as their language of origin.

The regional program continues to grow, thanks to the support of the Herald-Star, which has presented the bee annually since 1985, and the work of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and a committee led by Ron Sismondo. Helping to sponsor the bee are Special Tactics and Rescue Training and 360 Safe Solutions, Huntington Bank, PNC, WesBanco, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Gus’s Goodies, Tri-State Financial Services, McBane Insurance and the Ohio Lottery. Also providing prizes are Merriam-Webster Inc. and Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Scripps, which has sponsored the national bee since 1925, says the purpose of the competition is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. It’s an effort, the media corporation says, that reaches 11 million boys and girls each year.

Only 300 or so of that total will get the chance to participate in the national bee, and that puts Zachary Kuntz in some pretty elite company.

We congratulate him for winning Saturday’s bee and wish him well when he competes in the national bee.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)