Countywide Spelling Bee Welcomes Familiar Face to Pronouncer Role

Bee to be held Sunday, March 4th at Hartnell College. 

Monterey County Office of Education

Leadership, Support and Service to Prepare All Students for Success

Dr. Deneen Guss, County Superintendent of Schools

Countywide Spelling Bee Welcomes Familiar Face to Pronouncer Role

Countywide Spelling Bee Welcomes Familiar Face to Pronouncer Role

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2018

Contact: Jessica Hull / Communications and Public Relations Officer 831.784.4245 (o), 209.679.4858 (c)

Salinas, Calif. – Henry Cho, Jr., winner of the 1998 County Spelling Bee, has been named the official pronouncer for the Bee, an annual event sponsored by the Monterey County Office of Education and Community Partners. The 23rd Countywide Spelling Bee will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at Hartnell College.

Cho is uniquely qualified to assume this role as he knows the pressure felt by students who have dreams of going on to compete in the National Spelling Bee. In 1998, he participated in and won the Countywide Spelling Bee and advanced to represent Monterey County at the National Spelling Bee. “I entered the Countywide Spelling Bee for the first and last time as an 8th grader with zero expectations,” said Cho. “When I won, I had no idea that it would be one of the landmark events in my life. Every year, both excitement and nervousness are prevalent, and the sights, sounds, and experiences that were so new and foreign to me back in 1998 are now familiar and cherished every year at this time. Stepping into the pronouncer role is a whole new level of pressure, but an incredible honor.”

Cho has served as a judge for the Countywide Bee for the past 11 years. He will follow Barry Brown who retired after 21 years as pronouncer.

A native of Salinas, Cho graduated as valedictorian of Hartnell College in 2003, and from California State University Monterey Bay, Summa Cum Laude with Honors, in 2005 with a degree in Liberal Studies. For the past twelve years, Cho has taught fourth grade at Boronda Meadows Elementary School in the Salinas City Elementary School District. In addition to teaching, he coaches volleyball and basketball teams and, not surprisingly, runs the school’s spelling bee. Cho said, “The Spelling Bee played a role in securing me a job. As a student teacher, I was able to draw on my previous experiences and run the school Spelling Bee which at the time, unbeknownst to me, was one of the factors that resulted in my hiring, because it demonstrated to the principal that I was willing to take on extracurricular activities.”

Henry will be joined in this year’s Bee by veteran volunteer officials Brigid McGrath Massie, Pamela Dozier, Donna Bessant, Linda Bohnen, and Colleen Stanley. McGrath Massie, head judge for the past 21 years was on the team of volunteers when he won in 1998. "As a Spelling Bee Winner and popular elementary school teacher, Henry is an excellent choice as our Pronouncer,” said McGrath Massie. “He's known for his extensive preparation and ability to connect with the students and their families."

The National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational promotion, and is administered on a not-for-profit basis by the E.W. Scripps Company and local spelling bee sponsors in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe; also, the Bahamas, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea. The purpose is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English language usage that will help them all their lives.

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