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Sunflower Spelling Bee moving to Hays
new slt spelling bee logo

The state spelling bee hosted by the Great Bend Tribune for the past five years will move to Hays in 2013.
The Hays Daily News 2013 Sunflower Spelling Bee will be held on March 2 in Sheridan Hall’s Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center at Fort Hays State University. The winner will go to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
“We took on the project after the Topeka Capital-Journal decided that they wanted to reduce their bee territory to only include their service area,” Tribune Publisher Mary Hoisington said. “We took on the bee so that the counties in our service area could continue to compete and we were granted sponsorship by including all of the Kansas counties no longer having an event to participate in.”
To make it to the Sunflower Bee, students competed in bees or took spelling tests at their local schools, then advanced to county bees, with the champions moving on to the regional bee.
“Fifty thousand students competed in the Sunflower Spelling Bee competition each year, allowing us to touch the lives of more than a quarter million Kansas students during the past five years,” Hoisington said. “Barton Community College, AT&T and Sunflower Electric have all been wonderful partners and this would not have been possible without their support as well as the support from other Great Bend businesses and organizations.”
“When Great Bend reached out to see if we would be interested in hosting the spelling bee, I was honored,” Hays Daily News Publisher Patrick Lowry told his newspaper’s readers. “Newspapers are always looking for ways to promote both student achievement as well as the community.
“Hays is an ideal location for an event this size – and we anticipate the 2013 Sunflower Spelling Bee to be an enormous success,” Lowry added.
Hoisington said the Tribune asked the News to take over sponsorship in an effort to keep the final regional bee in the area.
“It has been a struggle for us to commit the necessary time to this project and we did not see this time commitment becoming any easier. We have mixed emotions about the transfer of sponsorship. The spelling bee has been such a huge philanthropic and educational project for us, and such a big part of our mission as a newspaper. It was difficult to let it go and especially hard to see it leave Barton County. However, we are pleased that the Hays Daily News will keep the final local bee in the area and we feel they have the manpower to make certain this event continues with the attention it deserves.”
Schools must be registered with E.W. Scripps online, the national organization.
Teachers and/or administrators from schools in the 75-county region for the Sunflower Spelling Bee – all of Kansas with the exception of 30 counties in the eastern part of the state – can register online for $115 at That fee includes study words for students, pronouncer guides, rules a foreign language course, Encyclopedia Britannica online and key information about local spelling bee program. Registration deadline is Oct. 15.