Abuzz about the ‘Bee’

Published 2:54 pm Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Can you spell E-X-C-I-T-E-D?

That’s the current state of a buzzing hive of spellers in Suffolk who are gearing up for the Suffolk Education Foundation’s first Grown-Up Spelling Bee.

“Most people are excited,” said Jennifer Schmack, president of the board of directors for the Suffolk Education Foundation. “But you can tell the people who can’t spell.”

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The event is set to take place at King’s Fork High School on May 14, only a couple of weeks before the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, which captures the attention of the nation with youngsters spelling words most grown-ups can’t even define. (Last year’s co-champions spelled “scherenschnitte” and “nunatak” correctly — have fun looking those up.)

It’s safe to say the grown-up competitors for the foundation’s fundraiser are hoping for slightly easier words. But if they get a difficult word, they’ll be able to get a spell check, skip it or sting another team by making them spell it — for a fee, of course.

A total of 20 three-person teams are needed to participate in the spelling bee. A variety of sponsorship opportunities, including word sponsorships (a doctor who straightens teeth might sponsor “orthodontist,” for example) are available.

Schmack said she hopes to get a variety of friendly competitors to participate in the bee. The Suffolk News-Herald already has challenged the city government to put together a team.

“We need a police and fire team,” Schmack noted.

A buzzing audience also is needed for the event. Tickets are $5 per person, with children 8 and under free.

“Hopefully we’ll get buzzing, no pun intended,” Schmack said.

Proceeds benefit the programs of the Suffolk Education Foundation, including classroom grants that help teachers provide extras for their students, such as one-on-one tutorials, special science equipment, an expanded summer school program, free books, subscriptions and more.

Visit the foundation’s website at www.suffolkeducationfoundation.org or call 775-9682 for more information, and don’t forget how to spell F-U-N.