We haven't hunted them all down yet, but we're getting close. And that means we'll be able to print a four-page pull-out section in Tuesday's Clipper.
It will introduce the residents of Davis County to these top spellers who have made it through several rounds of competition just to get to the Davis County Spelling Bee Tuesday night.
I want to thank the hardworking volunteers from the PTA and others who have been toiling mightily behind the scenes to make everything happen. They truly deserve thanks for their endless hours of effort.
But the real reason I'm writing this today is because I've been watching as the photos and information sheets come in from the various spellers.
Through the many hours of labor with this project, I feel I've gotten acquainted with most of them. Davis County residents can be proud to have so many fine spellers who represent themselves well and are a credit to their parents.
It gives us hope for the future to see these young students take an interest in becoming the best they can be. And it doesn't come without sacrifice.
By the time these students take the stage on Tuesday, they will have spent untold hours in study and effort, hoping to do their best. They'll also be hoping that among the words they'll be asked to spell won't be the very few they don't know.
Sometimes the difference between winning comes down to luck of the draw -- which particular word each speller gets.
But we understand how focused many students will be on winning because the stakes are so high.
We'll be giving out trophies and prizes for the top three finishers, and honorable mention honors to two or three more. But the biggest reward of all will be for our top speller to match skills with 285 of the greatest spellers in all America. That includes spellers from virtually all 50 states, plus Canada, American Samoa, the Bahamas, Guam, Jamaica, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands -- and even one from Europe.
What's more it will all take place in the rarified air of the nation's capital and will be broadcast on national television.
All spellers will be treated to a host of life-enriching activities, including a Memorial Day barbecue at Turkey Run Park, a visit to Annapolis or Mt. Vernon, plus time for sightseeing all around Washington, D.C.
All of it will be made possible with the help of several key sponsors who have joined with the Clipper and the Davis County PTAs. State Rep. Kevin Garn has agreed to cover the cost of the hotel stay in Washington, Columbus Travel will assist with the costs of the flight, and Signature Press has printed up dozens of custom certificates for all the spellers who have competed so far.
In addition, the first-place winner will receive a $100 savings bond and a copy of Webster's Third International Dictionary.
Second place will receive a $20 Amazon.com gift certificate and Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.
Third place will receive a $20 Amazon.com gift certificate, as well.
The three top finishers and any honorable mention spellers will also receive a certificate for a year's subscription to the online Encylopedia Britannica. And there may be other prizes, too.
The Davis High School Drumline will add flair to Tuesday's spelling bee, and Davis Cable Channel 17 will be on hand to tape the proceedings for broadcast about a week later.
We feel it will be a night to remember for all those who participate, not just the first place finisher. Every speller has bested top competition just to make it to Tuesday's finale.
In our book, all of them will be winners.