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Madison School Kids Make Us Proud!

February 9, 2020

I can not express how super pleased I am with again being able to comment on local students who made our schools, and their parents, look mighty good.  It was a timely reminder this weekend that much of the student population works hard, and has the encouragement of their parents to strive even higher.

We know that parenting can be a struggle, just as mastering the basics at school can be a climb for many students.  So when the circle of success shines from the home environment to the school classroom, and back again, we have reason to call it out for attention.

I know at the age of 9 to let’s say 14, there was no way for me to stand in front of others with composure and do anything.  Let alone be challenged by 44 others my age to spell words that many adults would not be able to pronounce or define.

Yet Saturday in Madison 45 truly smart kids participated in the All-City Spelling Bee.  And did so for three hours!

Matthew Brock, 14, an eighth-grader at Toki Middle School was the winner.  He spelled “euphonious,” correctly and sealed his victory by doing the same with “dolomite”. 

But it was not the word Brock spelled correctly that warmed my heart as much as what he had to to say to the press afterward.

“I read a lot and I practiced the study list,” he said. “Every time I see a word I don’t know, I look up the definition and try to understand whatever the context may be.”

His parents can be mighty proud.  As can all the parents of these young people.  It shows what happens when parents place books and words, and also the value of education, in front of their children on a continuous basis.  It not only makes students the winners but our city and society, too.

I especially want to call out attention to the second-place finisher, Vincent Bautista.  I do not know him but just feel most compelled to offer congratulations for a second-place finish.  At 9 years of age, he gives encouragement to all about what can be accomplished.  I am suspecting next year we’re going to hear a lot more from him.

And let me add my applause to Hamilton Middle School seventh-grader Grace Huang, 12, who took third place.

And a nice greeting to the other 42 who made the whole city smile and clap.  You are all amazing.

Brock will now move on to the Badger State Spelling Bee, scheduled for March 7 in Mitby Theater. The state champion will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee held in May in National Harbor, Maryland.

Keep on the path you are taking!

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