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September 23, 2018

Mimi’s Serves Up Spelling Bee Championship


OSWEGO, NY – Mimi’s Drive-In is known for its good food and friendly service.

Kathleen Dyer, Rob Lescarbeau and Father Eric Harer display the championship plaque.

Kathleen Dyer, Rob Lescarbeau and Father Eric Harer display the championship plaque.

Now, there is one more thing on the menu at the Fulton landmark: the 2009 Trinity Catholic School Corporate Spelling Bee championship team.

Mimi’s fought off 10 other competitors and some of the most difficult words ever in the bee’s 10 years.

Team members were Kathleen Dyer, Rob Lescarbeau and Father Eric Harer.

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, 11 teams spelled off to earn the right to claim the title and the championship plaque, engraved with the names of the winners.

The three-person teams included defending champs (and five time winner over all) Fulton Savings Bank, Mimi’s, Trinity Catholic Teachers, St. Mary’s Parish, Holy Trinity Parish, A&E Transport Services, Furdi’s Homes, Canale’s, Stability Fitness, Miss Kelly’s Dance Company – Zumba and the Oswego County Historical Society.

The teams battled back and forth on stage at the American Foundry for an hour and a half.

On the vast majority of words, the teams never came close to the two-minute deadline, much less hit one minute for that matter.

The first round usually features easy words.

However, “missile” shot down Miss Kelly’s.

Father Harer of Mimi’s joked that he would have spelled “missal.”

The remaining 10 teams breezed through the second round.

In round three, the Historical Society was buried by “subterranean.”

Trinity’s teachers got hit with “latitudinarian.” They correctly spelled it with just two seconds left.

Justin White, team captain of the St. Mary's Parish squad, is flanked by team members Maureen Nettles and Jeannine Blum. They earned second place.

Justin White, team captain of the St. Mary's Parish squad, is flanked by team members Maureen Nettles and Jeannine Blum. They earned second place.

As the team breathed a sigh of relief, Bruce Frassinelli, the bee’s pronouncer, quipped “I’m happy just to be able to pronounce it.”

A&E said goodbye when they failed to correctly spell “adieu.”

To start the fifth round, Stability Fitness was asked to spell “calisthenics.”

“Does this mean we’re going to get ‘spaghetti?” Nick Canale joked.

However, they got “whetstone,” instead and they were eliminated as they left out one letter.

The seven contenders sailed through round six.

Round seven was the downfall of a pair of teams.

Stability Fitness got burned by “candelabra” and Furdi’s added an extra “L” to “crocodilian.”

Dan Cummings waits for the A&E Transport team to spell their word during the 2009 Trinity Catholic School Corporate Spelling Bee. Members of the Canale's squad (seated) await their turn.

Dan Cummings waits for the A&E Transport team to spell their word during the 2009 Trinity Catholic School Corporate Spelling Bee. Members of the Canale's squad (seated) await their turn.

In round eight, Holy Trinity got hit with the word “liquescence,” which means to change to liquid form.

Team members asked if they could “phone a friend” as contestants do on TV’s “Millionaire” game when they’re stumped.

“Wow!” exclaimed WSYR-Channel 9 anchor Dan Cummings, the master of ceremonies for the evening. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen such difficult words in this bee.”

“Did you run out of English words at this point?” he asked Frassinelli.

“I just pronounce them,” Frassinelli replied.

Round nine was the undoing of the Trinity teachers. They slipped up on “gelid.”

Fulton Savings exited in round 10 after misspelling “pessimen.”

With two teams left, it meant the winner had to spell two words correctly. If both teams missed the word, competition would continue.

St. Mary’s Parish took a wrong turn on “pirouette” – but Mimi’s got it right.

That meant Mimi’s was one word away from the championship. And, that word was “fascistic.”

Mimi's team members collaborate on how to spell one of the difficult words during the 2009 spelling bee.

Mimi's team members collaborate on how to spell one of the difficult words during the 2009 spelling bee.

When Father Harer finished spelling, Frassinelli introduced the team as the “2009 Trinity spelling bee champions!”

“There were some really tough words,” Father Harer admitted. “This was a complete team effort.”

Previous winners are: Reynolds’ Law Firm (2000), Fulton Savings (2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008), Pathfinder Bank (2002), Nestegg Credit (2004), and Catholic Community of Fulton (2007).

According to David Friedlander, principal of Trinity, the event is designed to inspire educational values, team spirit and camaraderie and to raise funds for the support of the Catholic school.

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 Jim Schreck of Trinity 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, Econolodge/Steamers, Aunt Mary’s, Oswego YMCA, Advance Auto Parts, Oswego Speedway, Pat Furlong, Renaissance Faire and many others.

Friedlander added he appreciated the help of the teams, those who made donations and everyone else who came to support Catholic education in Oswego County.

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

For more information, call 343-6700.

(Any and all misspellings are due to, as Dan Cummings noted, several words in this bee just don’t seem to be part of the English language. The writer’s spell checker gave up half way through the article.)

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