OSWEGO, NY – There’s a new top speller in town.
Holy Trinity Parish out-spelled eight other teams to earn its first Trinity Catholic School Corporate Spelling Bee championship.
The words for the 11th annual fund-raiser were the hardest in the history of the competition.
The annual Trinity Catholic School Corporate Spelling Bee is one of the school largest and most popular fund-raisers.
At The American Foundry on Friday, nine teams spelled off to earn the right to claim the title and the championship plaque, engraved with the names of the winners.
Besides Holy Trinity, the three-person teams included defending champs Mimi’s, five-time champion Fulton Savings Bank, Trinity Catholic Teachers (sponsored by Reynolds and McGowan, PLLC), St. Mary’s Parish, Team Furlong-Shanley (sponsored by Furdi’s Modular Homes and Shanley Law Offices), Canale’s, the Oswego County Historical Society (sponsored by Robert McKinstry) and newcomers Oswego County Opportunities.
The teams battled back and forth on stage at the American Foundry for just about an hour this year.
Early on, the teams never came close to the two-minute deadline on spelling, much less hit one minute for that matter.
The first rounds usually feature easy words. However, there was some suspense.
As Mimi’s captain Father Eric Harer slowly completed the spelling of “enormous,” WSYR-Channel 9 anchor Dan Cummings, the master of ceremonies for the evening, quipped in a sing-song voice that he thought he would keep spelling – “mouse.”
“I’d hate to see someone go out in round one like that,” he added.
“Me too,” Harer agreed.
“Rutabaga” tripped up Canale’s in round two.
Fulton Savings, un characteristically, existed in the third round as captain Dave Mirabito spelled ‘troll’ instead of ‘trawl.’
Round four was the undoing for the Furlong-Shanley squad. They missed “prerogative.”
Mimi’s had to sit down in round five. They slipped up on “nemertean.”
“Would you like me to use it in a sentence?” asked Bruce Frassinelli, the bee’s pronouncer.
“Never mind,” replied Harer with a slight laugh.
Oswego County Historical Society fell out of competition seconds later on the word “xylophagous.”
As Cummings moved to hold the microphone for one team, he misidentified it as another team.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized. “I’m still stunned by the early departure of Fulton Savings bank!”
St. Mary’s Parish failed to make it out of round six as they were hit with “bourgeoisie.”
When Frassinelli announced the word, Cummings asked, “Did we run out of English words?”
When the Trinity Catholic Teachers added a “T” to the word “sachem” in round seven, there were just two teams left in the competition.
Coincidentally, they were the top two teams listed in the evening’s program.
With two teams left, it meant the winner had to spell two words correctly. If both teams missed the word, competition would continue.
In round eight, Holy Trinity got “picaresque” and OCO “agrarianism.”
And then, in round nine, the teams quickly spelled “pterodactyl” and “salaam” prompting Cummings to exclaim, “Wow, this is just like two heavyweights slugging it out. Neither one wants to lose.”
This, of course, jinxed both teams.
Round ten’s first word was “horripilation” and Holy Trinity couldn’t get it right. So OCO was on the verge of winning if they could spell it and the next word correctly. However, they too misspelled it.
In round 11 Holy Trinity nailed “grosbeak” but OCO stumbled on “asthmogenic.” Holy Trinity was able to figure it out.
All that stood in the way of their first championship was “phenomenalism.”
They cleared the final hurdle with relative ease and Frassinelli introduced them as “The 2010 Trinity Catholic School Corporate Spelling Bee champions!”
“My husband helped me study a lot this year,” said Lisa Kreinheder of Holy Trinity. “It helps to know the word origins, the root words.”
“These are words taken from the national Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee, the same words the kids spell. A lot of them we’d never heard of. But if you know the root word, you go from there,” she added.
“There were some words, that the other teams went out on, that we weren’t too sure about, either. There were definitely some words that we would have gone out on. The word that we both missed on, I have never heard of that word,” teammate Linda Farden added.
“It was fun, but it was a little nerve wracking as well,” teammate Kathy Kreinheder admitted. “When it got down to near the very end, it was like, wow, where did they get these words from?”
“We’ll be back next year, we totally will,” Lisa said. “We’re going to get matching T-shirts for next year!”
The three winners credit their spelling skills to their love of reading.
Betsy Copps of Oswego County Opportunities agreed the words were tougher in the later rounds.
“I can’t believe how tough some of those words were. I don’t think anybody’s ever heard of some of them,” she said.
“We did pretty well for this being our first year. It gives us incentive to come back next year and do a little better,” she added.
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), and Mimi’s (2009).
The coordinators were Jane LeBlanc (event) and Jim Schreck (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 Gina Pesaresi-Jones and Steve Yablonski of Oswego County Today.com.
Following the bee, there was a silent auction, and Bernie Brzostek conducted a live 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, Bed – Bath and Beyond, Blue Moon Grill, Cook’s Jewelers, Advance Auto Parts, Torbitt’s, EconoLodge, Canale’s, Lighthouse Lanes, Trinity Catholic School parents and many others.
Trinity is the sole Catholic school in the county; it is supported by all parishes in the county.
For more information, call 343-6700.