Just getting caught up

Getting caught up:

¯ We’ve might have just turned the calendar to December, but area young people are already working toward March 9.

That’s when the Jefferson-Harrison County Regional Spelling Bee will be held at Buckeye North Elementary.

Pupils throughout the region have been preparing for the competition since they returned to school in August. To reach that stage in Brilliant, they will have to survive classroom bees, building bees and school district bees.

And those district bees aren’t that far off. They begin Jan. 8 when the Indian Creek Local School District Bee is held at 6 p.m. at Indian Creek Middle School and the Edison Local School District Bee is held at 6:30 p.m. at Stanton Elementary. The Harrison Hills City School District Bee is scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 9 at Harrison Junior-Senior High School in Cadiz.

Buckeye Local’s district bee will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 16 at Buckeye Local High School, the Steubenville City Schools bee will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at Harding Middle School and the Toronto City Schools bee will be held at 3 p.m. Jan. 27 at Toronto Junior-Senior High School.

The top eight finishers and two alternates from each of the district bees will advance to the regional bee, where there will be a lot at stake: The winner of that bee will earn an expenses-paid trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Joining with the Herald-Star once again to present the regional is the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. It’s a partnership that has run from 1985, when Jimmy Yoo won the first event, through last year, when Grace McKeegan captured the title for the second year in a row.

Helping to direct all of the work that goes into making the program a success is Ron Sismondo of the service center, and a group of dedicated volunteers in each of the region’s school districts.

Area businesses and organizations also step up each year to ensure the bee offers a quality experience for everyone who’s involved.

Already signed on as sponsors are S.T.A.R.T. and 360 Safe Solutions, Huntington Bank, PNC Bank, Tri-State Financial Services and Gus’s Goodies. The Ohio Lottery Commission again has paid for the entry fees for all of the schools in the state.

¯ While January will be a busy month with the district bees, there was a lot going on in November, and December promises to get even more hectic as the days get closer to Christmas.

Some of the more notable events of the last month were held at St. Florian Hall and included the annual Festa Del Vino held Nov. 9 and the Ohio Valley Music Guild’s fall event held Nov. 16.

Different Hats Promotion and the Los Sabrosos Dance Company provided the entertainment at the music guild event, which featured cocktails, dancing and interesting music.

¯ Area residents also were reminded about the powerful impact prayer can have in their lives during a couple of annual events that were held on consecutive days.

Bill Gorman, the chief operating officer of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, delivered the keynote address at the annual Faith in the Future breakfast held Nov. 9. And on Nov. 10, Ivy Smith, the pastor of the Simpson United Methodist Church in Canton, delivered the keynote at the annual prayer breakfast held by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association.

Both events showed area residents are confident their faith can help to make our region stronger, with Faith in the Future attracting about 100 people to Froehlich’s Classic Corner and the MLK event drawing more than 100 people to Eastern Gateway Community College.

The success enjoyed by all of these events shows there is a great deal that can be accomplished if people are willing to work together and concentrate on the good things that can happen.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)