Belmont County Spelling Bee

St. C. middle schooler wins district bee and will compete in D.C.

T-L Photos/SHELLEY HANSON THE WINNER of the Belmont County Spelling Bee, Linh Le, right, poses with her mother Katy Le following the bee on Thursday. Le is an eighth grade student at St. Clairsville Middle School.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — When Linh Le entered her school’s spelling bee, each word she attempted to spell she thought might be her last during the competition.

But she kept spelling each word correctly until — much to her surprise — she finally won.

The same scenario occurred for Le on Thursday night when she won 2018 Belmont County Spelling Bee at Ohio University Eastern’s campus in St. Clairsville. The final two words she spelled correctly were “sinister” and “lenient.”

Le, an eighth-grader at St. Clairsville Middle School, will now go on to compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May 27-June 1. She will be accompanied by her mother Katy Le. She also is the daughter of Quam Le.

The second-place finisher and alternate to the national bee is Samia Tubby, a sixth-grader at Bellaire Middle School. She is the daughter of Dionne and Steven Tubby.

“I guess you just have to keep doubting yourself,” Le said jokingly of her ability to win the bees.

Le said she prepared for the district bee by writing the words down and listening to their pronunciations on the internet. She spent the past month preparing for the district event.

“Especially in the last week. I’ve been going home and writing down, maybe hundreds of words a night,” she said. “I had my dad quiz me yesterday, but that was it.”

Le advises other youngters thinking about competing to give it a try.

“Don’t hesitate. Just sign up for it. Study a lot, but even if you don’t make it, it’s a good experience,” she said.

Le said she visited Washington, D.C. last year, but still is looking forward to having days off from school while competing at the national bee.

Other participating spellers included: Kylie McGinnis, Tim Stoffer, Katelyn Hunt, Andrew Osman, Cade Boulet, Emily Klempa, Laura Weaver, Lyrik Brown, Caitlin Collins, Gracie Crumm, Calista Crick, Savannah Gatts, Alissa Hadorn, Mackenzie Keene, Kamren Donahue and Ema Plute.

In addition to the free trip to the national spelling bee, Le also received a $500 cash prize, thanks to Belmont Savings Bank; a first place trophy; a Merriam Webster Unabridged Online Certificate; the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award; a plaque with two winning words for school display; the traveling trophy for school display; and a one-year subscription to the Britannica Online Premium.

There were also prizes given to the second (Tubby), third (Kylie McGinnis) and fourth (Mackenzie Keene) finishers. The winning cover design for the spelling bee’s program book was created by Shaylnn Baker of St. Clairsville Middle School.

Sponsors of the bee included The Times Leader, Belmont Savings Bank, Goldberg, Persky & White, East Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Airport Limousine Service and AAA Auto Club.