The Wellesley Spelling Bee turned 25 this year and celebrated with 55 teams as spirited as the Wellesley Middle School Y2K Spellers (the Bee’s first-ever participants born in this century); as tough as previous two-time winners and this year’s second-place team, The Council on Aging Spellbinders; and as ultimately unbeatable as the Bates School PTO Minions.
Master of Ceremonies and long-time WCVB-TV sportscaster Mike Dowling was on hand, as always, to call out the words as only he can, and WHS Principal Jamie Chisum zealously worked the gong to warn teams that only five seconds remained to spell.
But no pressure. Anyone can spell words like coruscate, pharisaical, and suffrutescent (my spell check totally flagged that one. Not winning any spelling bees anytime soon, are you spell check?). All it takes is a little practice, a few hundred flashcards, and a knot in your stomach that only subsides when you’re on a spelling hot streak.
When it was down to the Council on Aging and the Bates PTO, I figured I’d better relax and settle in for the long haul. Two teams that toss off words like dasyure and pultaceous don’t don’t seem like they’re going to crash and burn anytime soon. But then, the killer word came — lapidarian, definition: suitable for engraving on stone and therefore elegant and concise. You know, like your winning team’s name on a gigantic spelling bee trophy. The Bates School PTO shredded that word and that was all she elegantly and concisely wrote.
According to team members Jessica Dormitzer, Sheila Olson, and Kena Thompson, it was a cut-and-dried case of studying hard. Congratulations Bates, and kudos for a job well done by all the hardworking volunteers who made the evening run smoothly. The annual event, put on by Wellesley Education Foundation, raised $62,000 this year to fund enrichment programs for the Wellesley Public Schools.