Good news can lighten any day, especially when it’s close to home.

One of those bright moments came with the announcement that a 12-year-old St. Paul Lutheran School student, Carter Daily, landed in the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

A phenomenal speller and expert scuba diver, Daily swept local competition, including the Cullman County Spelling Bee, the inaugural Lions Club Spelling Bee and several other en route to the nation’s capital to be among 500 wordsmiths.

Daily made it all the way to the third round before the word “postern” stopped his run. But no worries, he realized a lifelong dream to make it to the national finals and a chance to tour some interesting museums and monuments in Washington D.C.

Four other Alabama students were among the contestants, including Huntsville eighth-grader Erin Howard, who became one of the eight co-winners of the competition.

Anyone who viewed the spelling bee on ESPN witnessed a group of bright, intelligent and mannerly young people who worked hard to make the grand stage. Poised, confident and certainly well prepared, all of the contestants followed a long run for their opportunities.

We’re especially proud of Daily’s great showing and representing Cullman so well in the national spotlight.

Alabama students faired well during the contest. For a state that is often knocked because of its overall performance in education, these young people challenged that perception with their word skills.

Perhaps, in reflection, many more Alabama students could rise to higher levels of performance, like the five who stood in Washington, if the state re-envisioned education and how to better serve students’ needs as well as their talents.

We saw great hope and ability from the Alabama students at the Scripps Spelling Bee. We think reaching such a high level of achievement is possible for many more students in this state.

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