Column: Ice cream beats a trophy any day of the week

On Tuesday, I was the master of ceremonies at the Lake County Spelling Bee, which was sponsored by the Lake County Journals at the Lake County Regional Office of Education.

I’d like to congratulate Anne-Marie Kommers, who won the competition after spelling parasol correctly.

She won a seven-day trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C., a prize that was sponsored by the Lake County Journals.

I also want to thank second-place finisher Amy Sebastian who might not have won, but certainly was the most impressive with the speed and the assuredness of her answers.

She was a spelling machine.

The other participants included Greg Baseley, Kyle Baum, Josh Bell, Anna Burgos, Celestial Calderon, Rohan Dasika, Kacie Griffith, Josh Lam, Michelle Liu and Jocelyn Santiago.

You all did wonderful!

And you can watch these terrific spellers in the multimedia section at

It was just a fun night and brought back fond memories of when I was younger and participating in my area’s spelling bee.

My schools’ principal drove me to the event, which was going to be broadcast on one of our local radio stations. Everyone in my hometown of Evansville, Ind., would know what a great speller I was. It was my time to shine.

At least it was until I misspelled the very first word I was given. It was an easy word, but I forgot to ask for it to be used in a sentence and I gave the wrong answer.

It would have been a devastating blow to my still-young ego had my principal not stopped and bought me ice cream on the way back to school.

She was a wonderful, wonderful lady.

And that day, I came to a very important realization. Ice cream, my friends, is vastly better than any trophy.

Especially if it’s mint chocolate.


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