Bee Challenged

spelling bee 2019

A Spelling Bee? As a fundraiser? This is my kind of community! Our local high school sponsors a spelling bee on the last Sunday in October, and our team, the F/V ((fishing vessel) Timmy Boy, has joined the dozen or so competitors in the atrium of the local community college for the past three years.

I had only relocated here for a short time when my dear friends and neighbors enlisted me as a teammate. Despite my strictly-summertime vacation visits here to our family’s beach house, Michele and I have shared books in common for decades. When I count my blessings, I put her at the top! Her husband Bob, a fisherman renown in these waters, has joined her there. So…spelling.

Have I mentioned how I love a challenge? Michele eclipses me! She is fierce, with rapier wit, and stunning intelligence. No pussyfooting around it. At first the invitation was a “fun” thing, but as the date for our maiden voyage approached, so did our vie-for-the-win spirit.

I marveled at the mechanics of the event. First all the teams showed up in costume because…Halloween. We were sporting FV caps and t-shirts that year. At tables each team clustered around a white board and markers, scratch paper and pencils at the ready. The moderator, a beloved high school teacher, called out the word, then a sentence, then repeated. Team members began busily whispering and deciding on their final spellings. Each team revealed its attempt while the correct version flashed on a large whiteboard overhead.

In the early rounds, spectators seated in the center of the atrium could “buy-back” participation with donations when their favorites misspelled. Oh, my gosh—the words were tough! Obviously error leads to better fundraising, but we were proudly holding our own, only needing a couple of rescues from family.

When the serious rounds began, no buy-backs, teams began sinking fast, lawyers, teachers, students, local businesses, but the fishermen remained afloat. That first year, we claimed third place, the second year, hopes and intentions high, a disappointing fourth. This year, we came in second!  We knew where we were headed next year.

Fishing for ideas this morning, I received this in my inbox:

(Wikimedia Commons)

It’s a Chukar, you know? We didn’t, so it spelled elimination in 2019. We won’t make that mistake again!

(Thanks, Michele, for the inspiration.)


10 thoughts on “Bee Challenged”

  1. This is FANTASTIC on so many levels!!! I love the premise of a spelling bee fundraiser with costumes, to boot! I also love that the fishermen came in third, and then second! I also love the collaborative effort of the contest, building great community. And lastly, I love the Chukar. Who knew? I sure didn’t!
    Just delightful!!!

  2. That sounds like a really fun way to raise money. If it is held every October, this current madness should have passed and you will be able to spell your way to victory. F/V Timmy Boy in 2020!

    1. Right?! We never did anything nearly as creative in NJ. Thanks for reading. Fingers crossed for 2020.

  3. What a great fundraiser…and fun. Congrats on your steady progress toward first place. I am sure it is within your grasps for the next competition.

  4. I love the ending to your piece. I’ve never heard of a Chukar and spelling it would have been a guess- so funny that your friend sent this to you. She’s throwing down the gauntlet.

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