Officials staying busy as a bee

STEUBENVILLE – Pupils, organizers and sponsors are gearing up for the 2013 Jefferson-Harrison County Regional Spelling Bee, set for 1 p.m. March 2 at Buckeye North Elementary School.

That’s when the area’s top spellers who advanced from earlier bees held by the Steubenville City, Indian Creek Local, Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Toronto City and Harrison Hills City school districts will compete for the right to represent the area in the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee, to be held May 26 through June 1 in Washington, D.C.

Participants include the eight top finishers from each school district. Each district also selected two alternates. Major sponsors for the bee this year include the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times, Eastern Gateway Community College, Huntington Bank, the Steubenville Rotary Club and the Ohio Lottery.

The first-place finisher in the regional bee will receive a Webster’s Third New International Dictionary courtesy of Merriam-Webster; the Samuel Louis Sugarman $50 certificate; a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica; a $20 gift certificate; an award courtesy of Huntington Bank; and an expenses-paid trip to the Scripps bee. The top 10 regional finishers will receive trophies; a thesaurus for the third- through fifth-place winners; and other awards courtesy of Huntington Bank. The Ohio Lottery pays the entrance fee for contestants.

Local organizers said they are excited and proud to be able to help present the regional bee this year.

“Eastern Gateway is pleased to sponsor the spelling bee, which features pupils who practice their words hard and who have good study skills,” said Laura Meeks, president of Eastern Gateway Community College.” We salute these excellent pupils who are diligent in their pursuits.”

Jim Emmerling, president of the Steubenville Rotary Club, said club members were delighted to support the local annual spelling bee tradition.

“Our involvement is just our concern for educational opportunities for the youth of our area and recognizing them for academic achievement,” said Emmerling. “This allows us to serve Jefferson and Harrison counties. To serve is what Rotary is all about. Any time we can display the virtues of Rotary, we will. We also wanted to show our appreciation and support for the Herald-Star for its support of the bee. But showcasing academic endeavors – that’s the main aspect.”

“When Huntington gets behind a program that works, we stay with it,” said Lisa Quattrochi, vice president and community development manager for Huntington Bank. “We have a long history of providing financial education programs to schools throughout the community – including Junior Achievement, the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and the United Way.

“Taking care of our community is not only the right thing to do, it’s the best thing to do. We’re really proud to support the spelling bee this year.”

Kim Felmet, manager of the Steubenville Huntington branch, agreed.

“We take our commitment to the community seriously and are able to provide our customers with the best service, through local delivery of our products,” Felmet said.

“We are not only committed to providing the highest quality products and services in our communities, we are committed to enhancing the quality of life in those communities,” said Felmet. “Our customers know they can count on us to be there when they have a need, whether it’s a business loan, a mortgage or for their personal banking and investments.”

Huntington Bank has 14 branch locations throughout the Ohio Valley. Branch managers in the Steubenville and Wintersville areas include Felmet, Ken Peterson and Tiffany Swearingen.

“We’re glad that Eastern Gateway Community College and Huntington Bank have returned as sponsors for the spelling bee, and we’re excited that the Steubenville Rotary Club has joined our program ” said Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.

“Our outstanding sponsors, plus the hard work of Joe Roshak and his staff at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, who organize the bee, have helped our bee become one of the premiere events in the region,” Gallabrese continued.

Roshak, coordinator for the regional bee, said with the changes in technology, spellers should be given credit for wanting to perform at their best.

“This is our 29th edition of the spelling bee,” said Roshak. “These youngsters competing should be given a great deal of credit because they live in a digital age where they don’t have to learn how to spell.”

Roshak also said the bee has evolved from simple memorization to now also educating on the meanings and origins of words.

“Scripps has evolved from memorization of a word list to now emphasizing the origins of a word to learn how to spell it correctly,” he said. “They have to learn the meaning and how those words are used in the world they live in.”

Regional bee judges this year will include Steven Criniti, Jeremy Larance and Connie Salvayon. The recorder will be David Schaefer, while the pronouncer will be Mary Ann Zeroski.