Cooper: Spelling fans, we have a winner

The 28th annual TH Media Spelling Bee is in the books, and we congratulate Bryan Keck, a seventh-grader at Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School, who on Saturday outlasted 27 other outstanding spellers through 27 rounds to claim the regional championship.

Bryan won an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where he will represent our area at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in late May.

It was an unusual bee.

Six of the final seven spellers went out in one round -- only to get new life when the seventh missed on a championship-round word. All told, Bryan missed five words on Saturday, but his fellow competitors faltered, too.

Never before have we had three occasions in which a speller reached the championship round -- one correct word, and the title was theirs -- only to misspell and give fellow competitors new life. On the fourth championship round, Bryan nailed "ambidextrous."

We thank our friends at Dubuque Bank & Trust and Clarke University, whose sponsorship helps fund the series of qualifying bees, Saturday's championships and then Bryan's trip to the nation's capital.

Thanks, too, to our team of bee officials: Pronouncer Donna Loewen, judges Carol Trueg and Katy Perreard, and official Enid Wysocki. That they are willing to give up a chunk of their Saturday (plus preparation time for the pronouncer) speaks to their interest in the academic achievements of our young people.

Further, I will give a shout-out to TH Media's Michelle Schmidt, who took on the spelling bee assignment a couple of years ago and has embraced it as her own.

If you didn't attend the bee on Saturday, you missed a remarkable event. But then again, you didn't miss it entirely. The archived video of our "livestream" broadcast is available at Plus, we have also posted a collection of extra photos on the website's home page.

TH Media sponsors a bunch of events each year. It goes with being part of the community. The spelling bee is special, in my view, because it celebrates our young people's academic prowess, performance under pressure and sportsmanship.

We are proud to be sending spellers to Washington 28 straight years -- no other Iowa newspaper can claim that -- and look forward to having Bryan represent the tri-state area.

th photo
Bryan Keck
Photo by: Mike Burley . TH Media

TH Media
Story by: Brian Cooper TH Media Executive editor
Source: Telegraph Herald - Dubuque, IA
Date: 03/10/2015     Page: 3A    
Photo by: Mike Burley (TH Media)

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