Toronto youth wins bee

BRILLIANT – Nathan Keenan, a seventh-grader at Toronto High School, correctly spelled ‘segue’ to win the 29th annual Herald-Star Jefferson/Harrison County Regional Spelling Bee, and he and his supporters are hoping it will be a smooth transition when he advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 26-June 1.

In addition to a trophy, he will receive a Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, courtesy of Merriam-Webster; a $50 certificate and mint proof coin set in memory of Samuel Louis Sugarman, a supporter of the bee; a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica; a $20 gift certificate; and a $250 gift certificate from Huntington Bank and an expense-paid trip to the capitol for the national bee courtesy of Amtrak and UNIGLOBE Ohio Valley Travel.

“I’ve never been to Washington, D.C., so I’m really excited,” said Keenan, who is the son of James and Jeanine Keenan of Toronto.

He said he prepared for Saturday’s spelling bee, which was held at Buckeye North Elementary School, by dividing the study list into small sections, having his parents quiz him on each and studying again the words he had the most difficulty spelling.

He was among about 50 pupils in grades 5-8 who competed in the event after winning bees in their respective schools and districts. The competitors included pupils from the Toronto City, Steubenville City, Indian Creek, Buckeye Local, Edison Local and Harrison Hills City school districts; Jefferson County Christian School, Bishop John King Mussio elementary and junior high schools; the Virtual Learning Academy and a home-schooled youth.

Placing second was Caden Arbaugh, a seventh-grader at Harrison Central Junior High School. In addition to a trophy, he will receive a $100 gift certificate from Huntington Bank and the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.

Placing third through fifth and receiving trophies and thesauruses are: Bryan Maddocks, a Pleasant Hill Elementary School sixth-grader; Jasmine Black, a Stanton Elementary School sixth-grader; and Adam Ripley, a Harrison East Elementary School fifth-grader.

Rounding out the top 10 spellers were: Racquel Ritchie, a Harrison Central Junior High School seventh-grader, sixth place; Allen Moro, a Jefferson County Christian School fifth-grader, seventh place; Elonna Mitchell, a Virtual Learning Academy seventh-grader, eighth place; Francesca Boni, a Bishop John King Mussio Elementary fifth-grader, ninth place; and Austin Clark, a Bishop John King Mussio eighth-grader, tenth place.

All of the participants received $25 gift certificates from Huntington Bank, and the Ohio Lottery Commission paid the entry fee for all.

Joseph Roshak of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, the bee’s coordinator, said he’s pleased that the bee’s sponsors have grown in recent years, with the Rotary Club of Steubenville this year joining co-sponsors the Herald-Star, Eastern Gateway Community College, Huntington Bank, the Ohio Lottery Commission, Amtrak and UNIGLOBE Ohio Valley Travel.

Among many assisting Roshak were West Liberty University professors Steven Criniti and Jeremy Larance and Eastern Gateway Community College professor Connie Salvayon, who served as judges; Professor David Schaefer of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, who served as recorder; and Mary Ann Zeroski of Buckeye Local Schools, who served as pronouncer.

Herald-Star Executive Editor Ross Gallabrese applauded the many who worked behind the scenes for the bee, including Roshak and Joy Howell, Jefferson County ESC superintendent, who are retiring after this year.

He praised the many teachers, parents, grandparents and others who supported the participants.

Gallabrese also introduced former Herald-Star publisher, Charles Govey, noting Govey worked hard to establish the regional bee and its link to the national spelling bee.

Roshak told younger children attending the bee if they would like to compete in the future, they can prepare now by reading often and learning new words.

Over eight rounds and nearly two hours, competitors in Saturday’s event spelled a variety of words, from A for alderman to Z for zenith, and also including brackish, polder, dugong, mysanthropy, Gulden, terrapin, gopak, rucksack and gynarchy.