Advocate Editorial Board Opinion: All spelling bee participants are champions

By the Advocate Editorial Board
June 2, 2010 at 1:02 a.m.

Scripps National Spelling Bee contestants enjoyed a "Great American Barbecue" Tuesday in Washington, D.C. We wonder if Regional Spelling Bee champion, Pauline Negrete of Edna, liked that barbecue, coming from Texas where the barbecue is hard to beat.

Negrete, who is an 11-year-old fifth-grader at Edna Elementary School, began her national spelling journey Wednesday in the Round One test, a preliminary trial in which 50 spellings are given, but only 25 count. Spellers do not know which 25 words count toward their scores in the round.

Negrete, who is speller No. 244, also will participate in a national swimming competition in San Diego, Calif., next year. We are proud to have her in our region.

Much is at stake in the national spelling bee: The champion gets $30,000 in cash and an engraved trophy from Scripps. From Merriam-Webster, the champion gets a $2,500 savings bond and a complete reference library. And the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation awards a $5,000 scholarship to the champion. Other prizes include reference material valued at about $3,700 and a Samuel Louis Sugarman Award - a $100 U.S. savings bond presented by Jay Sugarman in honor of his father. But all contestants win at least $100 in cash plus a commemorative watch.

We are proud to say that the regional spelling bee winner - complements of the Victoria Advocate - received plane fare for Washington, D.C., two hotel rooms for contestant and family and an extra $500 for food not covered by the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The Advocate has done this for many years for previous regional winners.

We believe that participants in the spelling bees at any level learn discipline, good study habits and honorable competitiveness, all lessons that lead to self-confidence, a must have in the world of striving.

Spelling bee contestants have endured numerous hours of studying the contents of dictionaries and other references containing words. They are to be commended for their work, which will surely ensure success in their lives.

Only nine Texans have won the national championship since 1925. The closest champion to our Crossroads was Robert A. Wake of Houston. He won in 1966, spelling the word "ratoon" correctly.

We hope Negrete adds Edna to the list of residences for national champions. We are 100 percent behind her, as well as all the spellers who vied for regional champion. In our minds, they are all champions.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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