Congratulations to Jessia Connelly of Orange Charter School, winner of the Duke-sponsored Scripps Regional Spelling Bee! Duke University’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs will cover all expenses for Jessia and a chaperone to stay in Washington, D.C., where Jessia will compete during Bee Week for a chance to appear in the national finals.
The Office of Durham and Regional Affairs has been proud to re-introduce this great American tradition to our local schools, which haven’t seen a regional bee for years due to the lack of a sponsor.
The buzz created by the spelling bee’s return was palpable in Page Auditorium this Saturday, where families and friends came out to show their support for the Durham and Orange County spelling champions as they competed for the regional title.
Duke University President Richard Brodhead, who had women’s and men’s basketball games to attend throughout the day, said he was happy to begin his day with this particular competition.
“What makes us human is our command of language, and here are the stars of language,” he said, gesturing to the spellers on stage. “Whether you win or lose, it’s a proud moment for us to have you on campus.”
Mary Lou Rollins, Director of Special Projects in Duke’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs, was the liaison between local schools and Scripps National Spelling Bee. She said the enthusiasm of participating schools, spellers and parents made the experience truly rewarding.
“This has been such a positive experience, both for our local schools and for Duke,” Rollins said. “It’s generated an atmosphere of excitement and competition around learning. We certainly intend to continue our sponsorship for many years to come.”