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Teams spell support for North Okanagan literacy

Society’s annual Spelling Bee sees 14 teams compete

It’s a good thing to have teammates in the Literacy Society of the North Okanagan’s Adult Spelling Bee.

The 13th annual event returned after a two-year COVID hiatus Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the Prestige Vernon Lodge.

Case in point: The Morning Star Newsbees.

In the tiebreaker round, Word 1 announced by event emcees Brian Martin and Rebecca Barton of Beach Radio morning show fame was ‘sepulchre’ – a small room or monument, cut in rock or built of stone, in which a dead person is laid or buried.

Morning Star reporter Roger Knox – who had never heard of the word, and who, by the way, does not want to be sepulchred when he shuffles off this mortal coil – had written down ‘c-e-p-a-l-c-u-r’ to the delight of Dana from the literacy society, the event’s photographer. She just happened to be waltzing past the Newsbees’ table and glanced at the not-so-good-guess.

“I gotta take a picture of that,” laughed Dana, a clear indication Knox was nowhere close to being correct.

Fortunately, his teammates – Jennifer Smith, Brendan Shykora, Tammy Stelmachowich, Keith Currie, Hope Friesen, Rodd Cruikshank and Dean Gordon-Smith – bailed him out and got that word correct.

But there were several mistakes made by the Newsbees and the more than a dozen teams that participated in the society’s popular community event, which raises funds for the its literacy programs.

One team clearly not bothered by sepulchre or ptomaine or Fahrenheit was the Okanagan College Eggheads, who again claimed victory.

The bee, in each of its 13 versions, has been won by either the Eggheads or the Queen Bees, who took part again Wednesday for the 13th straight time.

There were 14 teams competing this year, and with sponsorship and donations, the bee raised $18,000 for the literacy society, which is down slightly from past years. However, the $18,ooo will be matched and the society will have made almost $35,000 through its Raise a Reader campaign, supported by The Morning Star.

”We’re already planning some exciting twists for next year’s event,” said literary society executive director Debbie Nurse, the head beekeeper Wednesday.

Spelling bee words included (words with ‘X’ the Morning Star Newsbees got wrong):


gobbledygook; Caribbean; Chihuahua;


bayonet (x); diarrhea; exorbitant (x); hallelujah; liquefy (x);


anemone; boutonniere; Fahrenheit; pinochle (x); souvenir;


ennui; camaraderie; architecture; ptomaine; wildebeest;


sepulchre; bougainvilea (x); tchotchke (x).

The Morning Star Newsbees won nothing but admiration for being the best costumed team while Valley First Credit Union, dressed in band T-shirts, had the best team name, Highway To Spell.

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About the Author: Vernon Morning Star Staff

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