By DENISE DICK
Sixty-six kids from all over Mahoning and parts of Trumbull counties compete in 79th annual regional Vindicator Spelling Bee.
Max Lee credits the help of his parents with his victory in The Vindicator 79th Regional Spelling Bee.
“My parents helped me study,” said the shy champion from Canfield Village Middle School.
Those study sessions occurred every evening for the last few months.
Max, 12, the son of Tac and Linglan Liu Lee, won the bee Saturday in the 48th round.
The competition in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center at Youngstown State University started with 65 contestants from schools throughout Mahoning County and parts of Trumbull County.
Max was last year’s runner-up.
From rounds 10 through 43, Max and two other spellers, Megan Winters, an eighth-grader at West Branch Middle School, and Tamsin Day, a seventh-grader from Willow Creek Learning Center in Boardman, battled it out.
They correctly spelled words such as “glockenspiel,” “balalaika,” “mandir” and “asthmogenic.”
In round 44, Megan misspelled “rejoneador,” earning third place. She also won third place at the 2011 bee.
Although Megan appealed the decision, saying she spelled the word correctly, the judges denied her appeal after listening to a recording of her spelling the word.
The contest continued for a few more rounds between Max and Tamsin before Tamsin misspelled “blemish.” That meant that Max had to correctly spell two words for the win.
He took the prize after rattling off “cartridge” and “fabricate.”
As the grand champion, he received a trophy from The Vindicator that he says he’ll probably keep in his room at home. The newspaper also will underwrite an all-expense-paid trip, including hotel, travel, tours, meals and incidental expenses, to Washington, D.C., for Max and one of his parents to the 84th Scripps National Spelling Bee Week May 27 through June 1.
He also got a grand champion certificate, a $100 savings bond from the Rotary Club of Youngstown, which will be presented at a May luncheon; and a $150 Barnes and Noble gift card from the downtown Kiwanis, which also will be presented at a luncheon.
Completing Max’s prize package is a copy of “These Hundred Years — A Chronicle of the Twentieth Century,” compliments of The Vindicator; a $50 savings bond from Jay Sugarman in honor of his father; Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and a one-year subscription to Merrian-Webster’s Unabridged online; a one-year subscription for a Britannica Online Student Edition from Encyclopedia Britannica; and a floral arrangement provided by Burkland Flowers of Youngstown.
Highlights from the bee will air from 5 to 6 p.m. March 31 and from 4 to 5 p.m. April 1 on WBCB.
Max may return next year as an eighth-grader but says he likely won’t study as hard. He plans to concentrate, instead, on MathCounts, a math competition.
His younger sister, Jessica, though, may be a spelling force to be reckoned with, too. She’s a fifth-grader at Canfield Village Middle.