Hard work pays off for local speller

For the second time in three years, Jeremy Slywczak, a student at Badger Middle School, has earned our congratulations for taking home the trophy for the 28th annual Tribune Chronicle Scripps National Spelling Bee last week.

This year, it took 14 rounds for Slywczak, 14, to win by correctly spelling first “benevolent” and then “maestro” after his closest competitor, runner-up Elliot Gebhardt, 10, of North Road Intermediate School, slipped up on “junto.”

Now Slywczak advances to the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals in Washington, D.C., on May 26-31. The trip also includes sightseeing and a tour of the nation’s capital, and he will receive a one-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged online, the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award (a 2019 United States Mint Proof Set courtesy of Jay Sugarman), a one-year membership to Britannica Online Premium and a $20 gift card from the Tribune Chronicle.

Slywczak had won the local bee in 2017 and competed in the national spelling bee in Washington. Last year, he took fourth place in the local bee, but he was not to be outdone again this year — his final year of eligibility — so he worked hard.

Slywczak and Gebhardt both deserve praise, but they are not alone. So, too, do the other 32 competitors who overcame any stress of competing on stage before a crowd at Kent State University at Trumbull, which co-sponsors the event with us. Clearly, each competitor worked very hard studying and preparing for this big event after winning the bees at their respective schools.

Also deserving praise are the families of each of these fine youngsters for the encouragement and assistance at home with studying words and preparing. We believe each participant must have excellent role models in their lives to have accomplished this at such a young age.

Congratulations, Jeremy, and good luck in Washington. We are proud of you!