Emily Braun can spell.
The seventh-grade student from Union Middle School was declared the 2013 winner of The Bee, the Missourian’s annual spelling bee competition Saturday morning.
After 13 arduous rounds, Braun was the last speller still standing on the John E. Anglin Performing Arts Center stage at East Central College. She correctly spelled “threshold” and “testament” to edge out Garrick Ogle, who was named runner-up.
It was impressive to watch Braun, Ogle and the other 34 contestants take turns spelling some challenging words. If you think you have a gift for spelling, try tackling words like “ennui” on a big stage under bright lights in front of a large crowd.
It’s not easy although the students made it look that way. Without question, the students possessed spelling moxie.
It was evident that the students put in a lot of time preparing for the competition. We salute them for their hard work and for caring about spelling which many consider a lost art.
Braun, Ogle and all of the other participants in Saturday’s competition were already spelling bee champions. Each previously won their classroom and their school’s spelling bee for the right to compete in Saturday’s regional competition.
We also extend our sincere appreciation to those who helped us put on this event, including The Bee Steering Committee, The Bee officials and Dawn Kitchell, Missourian Newspaper in Education coordinator and emcee for the event.
We are especially grateful for the support of East Central College and Greg Hoberock, president of hth Company, which sponsored The Bee. Both are longtime advocates of literacy — ECC in a very public way and Hoberock who often works behind the scenes supporting education causes.
The Bee would not be possible without their contributions and commitments. The same could be said for the teachers and administrators who teach spelling each day in the classroom and who provide continuous encouragement and inspiration for the students.
But more than anything, the students who participated in The Bee are to be commended for aspiring to be good practitioners of spelling. As we have noted before, spelling has become something of a lost art in this era of spellcheck on computers and smartphones. Some argue technology has rendered spelling aptitude obsolete.
Call us old-fashioned, but we disagree.
We believe that the ability to spell accurately is one of the fundamental skills that will never cease to be important. There is still a price to be paid for misspelling a word both in the classroom and in the business world. There are still employers who will dismiss a job applicant because of a misspelled word in a resume.
Correct spelling is still a measurement of intelligence. Or, as Simon Horobin put it in his book, Does Spelling Matter?, “A good command of spelling is generally regarded as evidence of a tidy mind.”
We know spelling matters to Emily Braun. Congratulations to her and all of The Bee participants.