Avis Janz of team Bee Cause contemplates the spelling of facetious at the 11th annual Adult Spelling Bee in support of the Literacy Society of the North Okanagan at the Vernon Lodge April 25. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Beez, Eggheads spell beautifully

Literacy Society of North Okanagan’s annual adult spelling team attracts 28 teams and raises $28,000

They’re unflappable. Unstoppable. Unbeatable.

None of those words were in the 11th annual Literacy Centre of North Okanagan Adult Spelling Bee Fundraiser Wednesday morning at the Vernon Lodge Hotel, not that it mattered to the Queen Beez and Okanagan College Eggheads.

The two teams were declared co-champions of the bee after each team went a perfect 15 for 15 in the three preliminary rounds of five words, then each got two out of three in the tiebreaker round.

The teams got the same word wrong: coelenterate.

The Beez and Eggheads have essentially owned the event since its inception. Each has won the bee four times separately (Beez in 2009, ‘11, ‘16 and ‘17, Eggheads in ‘12, ‘13, ‘14, ‘15), and twice they’ve been declared co-winners (‘10, ‘18).

“It’s all in fun. They’re here, first of all, to support literacy, and it’s become kind of a fun tradition where everyone tries to beat them,” said Wendy Aasen, executive director of the Literacy Society of North Okanagan (formerly Junction Literacy Centre).

The very first winners, the Running Spellcheckers, never returned to the event.

The Vernon Library The Hives finished third Wednesday, getting 16 of 18 words (all teams took part in the tiebreaker round).

The event attracted 28 teams, including ones with such fabulous names as Motley Croup (Vernon doctors) and Highway to Spell (Davidson Pringle Lawyers), representing law firms, medical professions, financial and educational institutions and newspapers.

The Morning Star Word Nerds, four-time event runners-up, got 12 out of 15 correct in the preliminary rounds, failing to correctly spell Mississauga, cannelloni and macerate.

The Word Nerds, consisting of current employees Jennifer Smith, Parker Crook, John White, Roger Knox and Carmen Weld, former reporter and always team captain Katherine Mortimer, and retired teacher recruits Jane Maskell and John Fraher, did get rapprochement right in the tiebreaker, but missed on iridescence (though Mortimer had it correct) and coelenterate.

Each team of eight contributes about $1,000 and with sponsorships and costs, the spelling bee winds up raising about $28,000 for the literacy society.

“We deal a lot in the community around literacy,” said Aasen. “We find there’s more and more need, particularly supporting children when they’re young to get that little boost of confidence they need to become literate.

“There’s more and more demand in today’s world to know things like financial literacy and digital literacy, so we try to fill those gaps in the community so nobody’s left out.”

The words, as read and explained by beekeeper Betty Selin of Sun-FM’s Sunrise Show:

Round one: orchestrate; queue; fibromyalgia; Mississauga; dachshund;

Round two: tousle; cannelloni; drunkenness; ordnance; facetious;

Round three: cerulean; macerate; pharaoh; camouflage; ecstasy.

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Kelly Smith of the Wannabeez is confident in her spelling of Mississauga at the Adult Spelling Bee in support of the Literacy Society of the North Okanagan at the Vernon Lodge April 25. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

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