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Spelling bee produces winner that goes to nationals

The southeast champion, Kunal Sah sits in the middle with his dad, Ken, and his principal, Nolan Johnson after the big win.

Months of hard work has paid off for spelling champion Kunal Sah and it happened at his home school.

Sah is a seventh grade student from Green River High School. He competed and won at the school, the district and is now the regional champion.

Along with this honor of being champion he will advance to Washington D.C. to compete in the National Spelling Bee on May 31-June 1.

The regional spelling bee consisted of students from Emery, Carbon, Grand and San Juan counties and was sponsored by the Emery County Progress and Sun Advocate newspapers as well as the districts themselves and the Southeast Educational Service Center.

Three Emery County students participated including the champion Kunal Sah from Green River, Jaecee Bird from Cleveland and Marilyn Malan from Ferron.

The regional spelling bee was held at Green River High School. Five spelling activities were held beginning with the build a word competition, boggle competition, geo-spelling, paideia words and spelling rules and the main event, the spell down.

The words were provided by Scripps Newspapers and no pre-study of the words was allowed. The commentator would ask the student a word and the student would repeat the word back and then spell the word. If a contestant missed a word, they were eliminated from the competition.

However, when the contestants were narrowed down to only two then each contestant had a chance to spell a missed word correctly and then if they did so they would also need to spell a word of their own correctly to win the competition.

The words weren't easy. The words included quadruped, journalism, academia, foreign, receipt, musician, condition, suspicion, physician, inertia, duodenum, ganglion, delicious, partial, endocrine, vacuum and many others.

Kira Simpson from San Juan and Kunal Sah were the last two spellers left after everyone else had been eliminated. Kira misspelled the word calefactory and Kunal spelled it correctly. He was then given the word impeccable which he spelled correctly to win the competition and the trip to Washington, D.C.

"I feel really good about this competition," said Sah. "I practice two to three hours each day and my dad tests me about once a week. The competition in Washington, D.C. is May 31-June 1.

Simpson was philosophic about losing.

"I don't like studying that much so I'm glad Kunal is going," she said.

Eli Beck from San Juan finished third in the competition.

The prizes were awarded with each contestant placing in an event and receiving an award.

Also competing at regionals were Edwin Juan from Montezuma Creek; Destiny Brasher, Sally Mauro; Shylie Richardson, Helper Jr. High; Albert Jeffs, Sally Mauro; and from Grand, Kamron Call, Brooklyn Richards and Delaney Roberts.

This will be the first time in the last few years that a regional winner from the area is able to go to the Washington D.C. competition. Around 2000 one of the statewide papers dropped its sponsorship of the event. Without a newspapers sponsorship, events can be held locally, but the winner cannot go to the nationals.

This past year Julie Taylor of the Southeast Educational Service Center approached Patsy Stoddard, editor of the Emery County Progress and Richard Shaw, publisher of both the Sun Advocate and the Progress and requested that the papers sponsor the events. With that partnership, Sah can now go to the big competition in the nation's capitol.

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