Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Champion

There's a new Spelling Bee champion, and her name is Kavya Shivashankar. Kavya has been in the Bee for each of the past four years, her hard work and perseverance paid off in a big way.
The audience filled the room more than 90 minutes before the broadcast was scheduled to begin, everyone wanted a prime seat for the big event. At 7:45 Paige Kimble, the Bee's Director, took the stage to introduce Dr. Jill Biden; the audience went wild. Dr. Biden spoke to the 293 spellers and their families about their dedication and about the pride they should take in themselves. She also spoke about the need to continue learning. At 9:00, an hour into the Bee, Dr. Biden left, only to return about 40 minutes later in full ball gown attire. Apparently, she had another formal obligation, made a cursory appearance, and then returned to the Bee for the remainder of the evening. Perhaps we are reading too much into it, but we felt that her returning to the Bee sent a message from the Obama and Biden administration, that smart is the new cool.
Another special guest was gymnast Shawn Johnson. Yes, she did just win Dancing With the Stars, but she came because her eighth grade teacher was Mary Brooks, the head judge of the Bee. 
We were sitting directly in front of  hosts Tom Bergeron and Paul Loeffler. Paul Loeffler is a sportscaster who competed in the Bee in 1990. We heard some of what they were reporting, but are anxious to see the broadcast once we return home.
We ended our night with a nightcap, and as luck would have it met up with Rich Boehne, President and CEO of the E.W. Scripps Company. We expressed our gratitude to him and Scripps, and to our local sponsor, The Daily Item, for all they do for the spellers. We had a great conversation with him and know that the Bee is in more than capable hands. 
So, the stress is off the kids for a few days, tomorrow is a day full of sightseeing, and then, the formal dinner and party that caps off Bee Week. Stick around, we'll be posting to the end, and tomorrow may hold a surprise or two!

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