By Keith Hautala
University of Kentucky
The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center in the UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications and KyForward have teamed up to host the National Spelling Bee for a region that includes Fayette and 62 other counties in Kentucky. The partnership will make the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee available to some Kentucky counties that have been unable to participate in the national competition.
The University of Kentucky Spelling Bee will be a semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee for winners from schools in 63 Kentucky counties, in Spring 2013. Winner of this regional competition will compete in the national bee in Washington D.C. next spring.
“Spelling is such a critical part of learning to write and speak correctly,” said Mike Farrell, associate professor of journalism and director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, who is the UK bee coordinator. “I have always loved words, how they’re formed and how they’re used, despite the fact I missed ‘pharaoh’ in the fifth grade spelling bee at my school. The bee gives students a real opportunity to grow their vocabulary, their study skills and their self-confidence.”
Scripps National Spelling Bee 2012 finalists. (Photo from Scripps National Spelling Bee's Facebook)
“The spelling bee is simply a part of the national fabric, and Kentucky students should have a chance to participate,” said Judy Clabes, editor and publisher of KyForward. “For me, it’s ‘back to the future,’ as one of my first assignments in 36 years with Scripps was running the spelling bee for The Evansville Press. I know firsthand what a quality experience it is for the students who participate, and what a thrill the trip to D.C. is for the regional champion. National Spelling Bee week in D.C. is an unforgettable adventure.”
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is open to students in public, private, parochial, charter, virtual and home schools. Students who are younger than 16 and in the eighth grade or lower grades are eligible. To participate in the semifinal round at UK, students must attend a school officially enrolled in the National Spelling Bee Program for the 2012-13 academic year and must have won their school’s bee. Schools can enroll in the bee online at spellingbee.com.
Winners from the semifinal bee rounds compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C. The championship round of the bee is broadcast on ESPN. The University of Kentucky Spelling Bee winner and a parent receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the national bee, as well as other prizes. Bee Week 2013 is May 26-June 1.
The UK bee is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23. (Snow date March 2.) All participants in the UK round will receive a gift bag with donations from area businesses.
“Hosting a qualifying competition for the Scripps National Spelling Bee is a natural fit for a journalism program,” said Beth E. Barnes, director of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications. “We look forward to helping make the spellers’ time on campus memorable. We hope to welcome spellers from many schools in our coverage area.”
The mission of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky is to promote understanding of the First Amendment among citizens of Kentucky, to advocate for First Amendment rights in the Commonwealth and nationally, and to produce internationally recognized scholarship concerning the First Amendment and its related freedoms.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational promotion, administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company and spelling bee sponsors. The purpose of the bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.
Counties in the UK bee area are: Adair, Anderson, Barren, Bath, Bell, Bourbon, Boyd, Boyle, Breathitt, Breckinridge, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Elliott, Estill, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Garrard, Greenup, Hancock, Harlan, Harrison, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Livingston, Lyon, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Mason, McCreary, Menifee, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Owen, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Scott, Washington, Wayne, Whitley, Wolfe and Woodford.