Raleigh County Student Takes Top Honor
The West Virginia Housing Development Fund was honored to sponsor the Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee. The event was held Saturday, March 12, 2011 at South Charleston High School.
Elizabeth Koh, a seventh-grader from St. Francis de Sales School in Beckley, was the 2011 Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee champion. She will now represent the state at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Her older brother, Matthew, won the crown in 2008.
The competition was fierce. Nineteen participants were eliminated in the first three rounds. Elizabeth, Benjamin Brewer of Cabell County and Alex Muncy of Mingo County battled through to round 15. After Benjamin and Alex missed on their words, Elizabeth stepped up and calmly spelled “habitual” to take the top prize.
Elizabeth will receive a weeklong, all-expense-paid trip for two to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. The national bee will be held May 30-June 2 at the Gaylord National Hotel.
She also won a $2,500 SMART529 college savings plan through a program of the West Virginia Treasurer's office, the Samuel Louis Sugarman award (a $100 savings bond), a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica Online and a Webster's Third New International Dictionary.
“I’m very excited to go to Washington, D.C.,” Elizabeth said following her victory.
Adola Miller, the Fund’s Senior Director of Human Resources and Communications, joined her on stage to present her with the dictionary.
“We’re proud to be a part the Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee,” stated Joe Hatfield, the Fund’s Executive Director. “This is a great opportunity to interact with families from across the state and help them learn more about our programs and our mission. We’re happy for Elizabeth and we know she’ll be a great representative for West Virginia.”
The bee was also sponsored by West Virginia American Water and the West Virginia Treasurer’s Office SMART 529 college saving plan.