OSWEGO, NY – The words were a lot tougher at this year’s Trinity Catholic School’s Adult Spelling Bee. But the competitors were more than up to the challenge.
The 14th annual bee turned into a heavy weight boxing title bout lasting a record-setting 28 rounds.
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.
At the end, the Trinity Catholic School Teachers team (Mary Annal, Linda Kieper and Karen Reynolds) stood toe to toe in the center of the ring duking it out with the Holy Trinity Parish squad (Kathy Kreinheder, Lisa Kreinheder and Linda Farden).
During the 11 final rounds, they traded word for word – neither team willing to give in.
Trinity Catholic School Teachers finally packed it in on “portmanteau.”
The Holy Trinity Parish team was one word away from the championship. And, that word was – cephalopod. After Lisa Kreinheder calmly pronounced each letter, the title was theirs.
For Holy Trinity Parish, it was the team’s second championship, having first won the title in 2010
Besides Trinity Catholic School Teachers and Holy Trinity Parish the other three-person teams included: Fulton Savings Bank, St. Mary’s Parish, the Oswego County Historical Society (sponsored by Robert McKinstry), Quack Shack (SUNY Counseling), and newcomers Oswego Speedway Small Block Super Drivers and Oswego Speedway Supermodified Drivers.
Following the bee, there was a silent auction featuring a huge variety of locally donated goods.
The event coordinator was Jane LeBlanc.
The spelling bee is designed to inspire educational values, team spirit and camaraderie and to raise funds for the support of the Catholic school, according to Principal Barb Sugar.
The word list is the same as the one used for the national scholastic spelling bee held in Washington, DC, each spring. The first word on the list is “rug” with “jam” and “add” at numbers two and three, respectively.
Trinity’s spellers began with number 100. Words in the upper tier included the likes of “vitriolic,” “netiquette,” “evince,” and “mugwump” – which elicited laughter from the crowd as well as the contestants.
“Sounds like something out of ‘Harry Potter,’” joked Tim Annal, the master of ceremonies for the evening. And, when asked to use the word in a sentence, Vernon Tryon, the bee’s pronouncer, said, “In the Harry Potter series of books, a mugwump is…” the laughter grew even louder.
One by one, the teams slipped away. After more than an hour into the event, seven-time champion Fulton Savings Bank misspelled “ostracism” in the 13th round. St, Mary’s Parish couldn’t get past “presumptuous” in the 17th round setting up the confrontation between TCT and HTP.
Each team showed its word prowess as each of the next rounds was completed in less than a minute; sometimes, it was two rounds per minute.
“Wow,” Lisa Kreinheder exclaimed after the event. “There were some really tough words tonight, really. We just worked as a team and sounded our way through them. We were kind of nervous, but it was fun!”
The team members got together and looked over the potential words and discussed them, she said, adding they were a lot of tricky words on the list that they hoped they would have to be the ones to try to spell.
“We all love to read,” she pointed out. “That was a tremendous help. We’ve probably seen many of these words before. But trying to spell them, under ‘pressure’ is a little different than enjoying a good book! I heard that word (mugwump) and I immediately thought of Harry Potter.”
LeBlanc thanked all the teams for participating and everyone in attendance for supporting Trinity Catholic School.
“I think several of the teams have all been winners before. Thank you for coming back and helping us,” she said. “And, it is always nice to have new teams join us. Thank you so very much for joining us.”
“There were some really hard words tonight, but the teams were up to the challenge,” Sugar said. I can’t believe how long it went on tonight. It’s got to be some sort of a record.”
The annual Trinity Catholic School Community Adult Spelling Bee is one of the school largest and most popular fund-raisers.
The judges for the competition were Anthony and Helen DiMartino with Steve Yablonski of Oswego County Today.com serving as the official timekeeper.
Previous winners are: Reynolds’ Law Firm (2000), Fulton Savings (2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011* and 2012), Pathfinder Bank (2002), Nestegg Credit (2004), Catholic Community of Fulton (2007), Mimi’s (2009), Holy Trinity Parish (2010, 2013).
*A scheduling conflict for some of the competitors forced the October 2011 edition to be conducted in January 2012. The 2012 bee was held in November of 2012.
Trinity is the sole Catholic school in the county; it is supported by all parishes in the county.
For more information, call 343-6700.