13-year-old New Jersey girl wins Scripps National Spelling Bee

Fri, June 02, 2006 by Mark Kroeger

WASHINGTON – Katharine “Kerry” Close, a 13-year-old speller from Spring Lake, N.J., won the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday night. Kerry was named the Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion in the 20th round after correctly spelling the word “ursprache,” which is defined as “a parent language, especially one reconstructed from the evidence of later languages.” Kerry, the daughter of James and Paula Close, represented the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press/Home News Tribune in this year’s competition. Kerry is an eighth-grade student at H.W. Mountz School in Spring Lake. This was the fifth Scripps National Spelling Bee in which she competed. She tied for seventh place in the 2005 national finals. The final championship rounds of this year’s Bee were broadcast live on the ABC Television Network. The spelling competition began Wednesday with 275 competitors who qualified to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee by winning locally sponsored bees in their home communities. Kenneth W. Lowe, president and chief executive officer of The E. W. Scripps Company, declared Kerry the national champion and awarded her the engraved Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship loving cup immediately after the winning word was correctly spelled. “Each year we host the Scripps National Spelling Bee to celebrate academic excellence and to encourage advanced literacy,” Lowe said. “Our congratulations to Kerry, who survived 19 rounds of spelling to emerge as the 2006 national champion. We also extend our congratulations to all of the top spellers who participated in this year's competition.” The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational promotion. The competition is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E. W. Scripps Company, based in Cincinnati, and 268 local sponsors. The majority of local spelling bee sponsors are daily and weekly newspapers.  The competition was held in the Independence Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Washington. Round-by-round results can be reviewed at the Scripps National Spelling Bee Web site, spellingbee.com.  Finishing second in this year’s competition was Finola Mei Hwa Hackett, 14, of Tofield, Alberta, Canada, the daughter of Sai Yah Joo-Hackett and Richard Hackett. The third place finisher was Saryn Rebecca Hooks, 14, of Taylorsville, N.C.  All 275 competing spellers receive cash prizes ranging from $25 to the $20,000 championship prize. The national champion also receives an engraved loving cup, a $5,000 cash award from Franklin Electronic Publishers, a $5,000 cash award from LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., a $5,000 scholarship from Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation; from Merriam-Webster, a $2,500 U.S. Savings Bond and a reference library; and from Encyclopedia Britannica, reference materials valued at more than $5,000. All spellers receive a commemorative watch, the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, which consists of a $100 EE U.S. Savings bond, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, on CD-ROM from Merriam-Webster and a $20 gift certificate from Franklin Electronic Publishers. Franklin will award the top 10 to 12 finishers a limited edition electronic dictionary. Biographies of this year’s spellers and information about the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee can be found online at www.spellingbee.com.   About Scripps The E. W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) is a diverse and growing media enterprise with interests in national cable networks, newspaper publishing, broadcast television stations, electronic commerce, interactive media, and licensing and syndication.The company’s portfolio of media properties includes: Scripps Networks, with such brands as HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living, Great American Country and HGTVPro; daily and community newspapers in 18 markets and the Washington-based Scripps Media Center, home to the Scripps Howard News Service; 10 broadcast TV stations, including six ABC-affiliated stations, three NBC affiliates and one independent; leading online search and comparison shopping services, Shopzilla and uSwitch; and United Media, a leading worldwide licensing and syndication company that is the home of PEANUTS, DILBERT and approximately 150 other features and comics.

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