Team captains exchanged words (correctly spelled, of course) as they met for a photo to promote April 6’s Junction Adult Spelling Bee.
The competitive spirit is growing as the Queen Bees with captain Lindy Blakely and Okanagan College with captain Chandra McCann, who tied for the championship in 2010 and 2009 will battle it out for the top spot.
The Morning Star team with captain Katherine Mortimer is bringing in new talent in its bid to topple the reigning champions.
Publisher Nathan Weathington, who will be on the team for the first time, admits that he will help by counting the words in the contest.
“They’re bringing me along just so they can use the word ‘juxtaposition,’” he said.
Mortimer, the ultimate spelling authority in the newsroom, vows not to be talked out of spellings she knows are right after the Tsawwassen incident and last year’s near win.
“For some reason, both Cara Brady and I knew we had the correct spelling for zarzuela, and we were talked out of it,” she said.
“So yes, I must admit that I’m still bitter. As for Tsawwassen, well, the number of times I’ve sat in the ferry terminal there, I really should have known that one.
“This year, however, we have scored a top-secret ringer for our team which we hope will finally get our name on the championship trophy.
“If not, we always have a blast at the event, it’s for a good cause, and true journalists that we are, we’re always happy to take part in the free breakfast.”
The spelling bee, now in its fourth year, had 136 participants at 17 tables last year. The participants, from all backgrounds, high school students, teachers, businesses and local clubs, enjoyed breakfast and then turned on their brain power.
“There’s some pressure but we have a lot of fun and people who come to a spelling bee once usually want to come back the next year,” said McCann.
People who can’t get a team together can register as individuals or small groups and be placed on a team. The members of the Queen Bees didn’t know each other before they were placed on a team together.
The Spelling Bee is a fundraiser for The Junction Literacy Centre programs in schools and the community.
“I’m a volunteer in the One To One reading program in the schools and I see the difference it makes for those kids to help them improve their reading skills and self-confidence and self-esteem. It’s a great thing to support,” said Blakley.
Queen bee Betty Selin of Sun FM likes keeping everything in order.
“You don’t have to be a great speller to come out and get into the spirit of it,” she said.
Debbie Schiller, Junction Literacy Centre executive director, promises that the words won’t be too hard.
“The words may be a bit tricky but they are all spellable if you know your word origins. We give enough time and no one has to spell out loud. Try to get some people who speak different languages or have a scientific or medical background on your team,” she said.
Teams and individuals should register before March 31. The cost is $125 per person or $1,000 per table with tax receipts issued.
The spelling bee, with gold sponsor Interior Savings Credit Union, is a fundraiser for Junction literacy and youth programs. For more information and registration call 250-275-3117, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see junctionliteracy.ca or teenjunction.ca.