Fans abuzz at adult spelling bee

Published 11:55 pm Thursday, October 21, 2010


With shouts, hoots and banging drums, the Chocowinity Primary School spirit boosters entered the P.S. Jones Middle School gym, marched around the court and cheered their teams. The seventh annual Adult Team Spelling Bee had unofficially begun.
According to event organizer Catherine Glover, executive director of the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, “This continues to be a great partnership between the Chamber and the community to help support workforce programs in our schools. It’s a lot of fun and we’re very grateful to our judges, spellers, volunteers and sponsors.”
Dave Jordan, WITN news anchor and emcee, noted the large number of participating teachers.
“You are educating our workforce,” Jordan said. “Local businesses — including those represented here — will hire these students one day, so everyone benefits.”
A competitive spirit filled the gymnasium as each of the 24 teams attempted to correctly spell words not usually encountered in a typical day. The word choices proved to be a stern test leaving many spellers scratching their heads, though most teams easily sailed through the first two rounds.
Following intermission, cheers from supporters became louder, the strain of tough competition became more apparent and the words became more difficult.
To ease the mood, spirit-boosting cheers resounded throughout the gym. Ashley Davis, a sixth-grade language arts teacher and cheerleader advisor, was proud of her group.
“We’re going to cheer loudly and support our teams and try to win the ‘Spirit’ award because P.S. Jones Middle School is the best!” Davis said.
The spellers representing another school also laid claim to the honor.
“Look at our initials,” said one team member, “’B.E.S.T.’, Bath Elementary School Team!”
By the end of the final round, it was evident which teams were truly the best, at least on this evening. The final two surviving teams represented the Beaufort County Schools Central Services and the Washington High School “Bee-lievers.”
The two teams both stumbled by misspelling “Lokshen” (a type of noodle). Playful banter occurred between the groups who were seated in close proximity.
Dave Jordan then pronounced what would prove to be the final word: “Anachronism.” The Central Services team quickly realized its mistake: The substitution of “y” for “i” had been their undoing and it showed on their faces.
The reaction on the Bee-lievers team revealed excitement and relief. The Washington High School team had spelled the word correctly.
Quickly, the Central Services team offered congratulations to the winners.
“We’re not disappointed,” one team member said, “we’ve had a great time.”
The result was not a surprise to many. The Bee-lievers had been there before. The victory was accomplished with only three team members (most teams had four). Joan Campbell and Cindy Edwards had been victorious teammates on two previous occasions spelling for the Beaufort County Educational Foundation. Betty Jane Green joined them in the victory this year.
“This victory was for Andy!” Campbell and Edwards said proudly. Andy Blake, now deceased, was their teammate on past victories and they chose to honor him out of friendship and respect.
Also victorious were the clamoring, boisterous boosters from Chocowinity Primary School. They proudly accepted the Spirit Award from Christina Harris, Education Committee Member and CTE/9-12 curriculum coordinator.
“We didn’t rehearse,” said Spencer Pake, spirit team leader and assistant principal of the school. “We came to show our true spirit in how much we love what we do and how proud we are of our teams.”
A great deal of pride was on display throughout the evening. Glover assessed the event.
“We’re very pleased with how the evening went,” she said. “We encourage other businesses and groups to form teams for next year. It’s for a great cause and it’s a lot of fun!”