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September 25, 2018

Fulton Savings Banks Spelling Bee Championship


OSWEGO, NY – Fulton Savings Bank out-spelled seven other teams to recapture the Trinity Catholic School Corporate Spelling Bee championship crown.

It was the team’s first win since 2008. Mimi’s earned the title in 2009 and Holy Trinity Parish captured the last event in 2010.

Fulton Savings Bank team members Maria Grimshaw-Clark, Dave Mirabito and Marilyn Boucher ponder the proper spelling of a word near the end of the annual spelling bee.

Fulton Savings Bank team members Maria Grimshaw-Clark, Dave Mirabito and Marilyn Boucher ponder the proper spelling of a word near the end of the annual spelling bee.

The words for the 12th annual fund-raiser were the hardest in the history of the competition.  More than one speller was left scratching their head and asking for the word to be pronounced more than once in the latter rounds.

The annual Trinity Catholic School Corporate Spelling Bee is one of the school largest and most popular fund-raisers.

Tim Annal served as the master of ceremonies for the evening and Dee Dee Murray was the bee’s pronouncer.

At The American Foundry on Friday night, eight teams spelled off to earn the right to claim the title and the championship plaque, engraved with the names of the winners.

Besides Fulton Savings Bank, defending champs Holy Trinity Parish and Mimi’s, the three-person teams included: Trinity Catholic Teachers, St. Mary’s Parish, the Oswego County Historical Society (sponsored by Robert McKinstry) and newcomers St. Paul’s Alumni Team and Girls Night Out.

The teams battled back and forth on stage at the American Foundry. The words were so tricky this year, the competition that usually last for an hour or more concluded in a snappy 35 minutes.

The teams never came close to the two-minute deadline on spelling, much less hit one minute for that matter in the early going.

The first rounds usually feature easy words such as Whittle, Warrior and Castle.

Lisa McDougal, James McDougal and Michael LeBlanc of the Mimi’s squad watch the action near the end of the annual Trinity spelling bee.

Lisa McDougal, James McDougal and Michael LeBlanc of the Mimi’s squad watch the action near the end of the annual Trinity spelling bee.

It took less than three minutes for the teams to sail through round one.

In round two, the Trinity Catholic Teachers were hit with Sashay. The MC quipped that if they misspelled it “You’ll have to sashay back to your seats.” They stuck around a while longer when his wife, Mary Annal, the team’s captain, correctly spelled the word.

Round three saw Girls Night Out fall off the competition on Precipice.

In round four St. Paul’s Alumni couldn’t come together on Consensus.

The next round’s words were extremely tough.

St. Mary’s Parish had to grapple with Indomitable, while Mimi’s managed to get past Duodenum.

In round six, Holy Trinity Parish misspelled Lederhosen.

Then the Trinity Catholic Teachers stumbled on Muumuu.

Moments later, St. Mary’s Parish couldn’t handle Ululate.

The next round saw the Oswego County Historical Society falter on Lackadaisical.

That set up the showdown between Mimi’s and Fulton Savings Bank.

Members of the St. Paul’s Alumni Team Bernie Schuffenecker, Chris Chetney and Tammy Browne show off their team uniforms. Bernie’s outfit was complete with a St. Paul’s backpack.

Members of the St. Paul’s Alumni Team Bernie Schuffenecker, Chris Chetney and Tammy Browne show off their team uniforms. Bernie’s outfit was complete with a St. Paul’s backpack.

With two teams left, it meant the winner had to spell two words correctly (the word the other team missed and its own word). If both teams missed the word, competition would continue.

Mimi’s gave a great effort, but just couldn’t spell Numnah – a word that hardly anyone in the packed house had ever heard of. It refers to a blanket that goes under a saddle.

In the previous bee, Fulton Savings uncharacteristically existed in the third round as captain Dave Mirabito spelled ‘troll’ instead of ‘trawl.’ This time around, he avenged that misstep and, with the help of teammates Marilyn Boucher and Maria Grimshaw-Clark, moved to within a word of their sixth championship.

When Mirabito correctly spelled Reconnoiter, Tim Annal announced them as “the 2012 Trinity Catholic School Corporate Spelling Bee champions!”

Annal described FSB as the Lebron James of the Trinity Spelling Bee.

Mirabito playfully took umbrage to that comparison – pointing out that the NBA star has no championships while this is number six for FSB.

The three winners credit their spelling skills to their love of reading.

Reconnoiter is a word Mirabito said he is somewhat familiar with.

Use it in everyday conversation?

“Uh, no, not me,” he admits. “I’ve heard the word before. It’s not that weird a word. They (Mimi’s) got the hard word.”

“It was really a guess and some good luck that we figured out numnah,” Boucher said. “We hadn’t heard it before. It was between uh and ah at the end, and we decided to go with ah and that’s what it was.”

“I was always good at spelling, that’s my super power,” Boucher said with a laugh. “We worked it out as a team. The words were getting tougher.”

“Actually, Dave tested me before we began. I basically had to audition, right up front right before we started,” Grimshaw-Clark quipped after the competition.

She said she would like to come back and defend the title at the next spelling bee, if Dave will have me.”

“I’d love to keep the team together,” he said. “We’ll be back again next year!”

Previous winners are: Reynolds’ Law Firm (2000), Fulton Savings (2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008), Pathfinder Bank (2002), Nestegg Credit (2004), Catholic Community of Fulton (2007), Mimi’s (2009), Holy Trinity Parish (2010). A scheduling conflict for some of the competitors forced the October 2011 edition to be conducted in 2012.

The event coordinator was Jane LeBlanc with Suzanne Cook, Christina Chamberlain and Rebecca Rastley making up the auction team.

The event is designed to inspire educational values, team spirit and camaraderie and to raise funds for the support of the Catholic school, according to Principal Joe Lazarski.

The word list is the same as the one used for the national scholastic spelling bee held in Washington, DC, each spring.

The judges for the competition were Kathy Baer and Lazarski of Trinity and Steve Yablonski of Oswego County Today.com serving as the official timekeeper.

Following the bee, there was a silent auction featuring a huge variety of donated goods.

Among the items up for bid were donations from Laker Hockey Camp, Rudy’s, Your House – Your Home, Blue Moon Grill, Advance Auto Parts, Torbitt’s, Canale’s, Trinity Catholic School parents and many others.

“When you think of an exciting way to spend a Friday night, the first thing that comes to everybody’s mind is, ‘Hey, let’s go to a spelling bee!’” Lazerski joked as he welcomed everyone to the event. “I hope you all have fun. That’s what we’re here for.”

Trinity is the sole Catholic school in the county; it is supported by all parishes in the county.

For more information, call 343-6700.

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