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Welcome home, Rachael Cundey

Posted: June 1, 2013 - 11:03pm
Photo by Jim Blaylock   Rising Lakeside High School freshman Rachael Cundey, in her fifth and final attempt at the Scripps National Spelling Bee title, was eliminated during Thursday's semi-final rounds.  Photo by Jim Blaylock 
 Rising Lakeside High School freshman Rachael Cundey, in her fifth and final attempt at the Scripps National Spelling Bee title, was eliminated during Thursday's semi-final rounds.
Photo by Jim Blaylock Rising Lakeside High School freshman Rachael Cundey, in her fifth and final attempt at the Scripps National Spelling Bee title, was eliminated during Thursday's semi-final rounds.
Photo by Jim Blaylock Rising Lakeside High School freshman Rachael Cundey, in her fifth and final attempt at the Scripps National Spelling Bee title, was eliminated during Thursday's semi-final rounds.

We’d love to be returning a champion to Columbia County.

But it’s enough that we’re welcoming home a winner.

Rachael Cundey’s streak of five victories in her school-level spelling bees, the Columbia County bees and the regional bees not only is unprecedented, but unlikely to be matched. As she enters high school next year and leaves her spelling bee eligibility behind, she leaves winning records that will stand as a monument to education, intellect and hard work.

Likewise, her five trips to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where she fell out of contention Thursday in the semi-final rounds, also are unlikely to be matched locally. Just getting there is a monumental achievement, and certainly something worthy of a tremendous amount of community pride.

In a world that so casually makes heroes of the athletically gifted or musically talented, we really should do more to celebrate those who work hard to elevate our language and its accurate use to a competitive level.

The fact that the final rounds of the national bee were shown in prime time, on the cable sports channel ESPN, no less, is a good sign of that respect.

So welcome home, Rachael. To those of use who value English, you’re our hero.

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