The tenth annual Community Spelling Bee will be held Sunday, October 20 at 7:00 pm at the Newport campus of Oregon Coast Community College. The event is a fundraiser for Newport High School Funding Academics Now! (NHS FAN), a group that raises money to support academic programs and classroom needs at Newport High School.
Rather than competing individually, this event pits teams of four adults against each other. Teams work together to spell the words presented, and then display their group-derived spelling on dry-erase boards. Two real-life Lincoln County judges, Sheryl Bachart and Thomas Branford, will determine which teams have spelled a given word correctly.
While a single misspelled word will eliminate a team, in the early rounds of play teams can “bribe” the judges to be allowed back into the competition with an additional donation to NHS FAN. “Audience participation is crucial to the event,” co-organizer Nancy Steinberg said. “We encourage donations in the form of bribery in support of your favorite teams.”
Winning teams from past bees include the Newport Public Library’s team, the Bibliophiles (2010, 2011, and 2015); the CoasTarts of the Oregon Coast Council on the Arts (2012, 2013, 2017 and 2018), the Newport High School faculty team (2014), and a team from the Hatfield Marine Science Center (2016). Many of these teams will be back this year, along with teams from Altrusa, the local fishing boat Timmy Boy, and a popular team of Lincoln County lawyers.
The winning team will receive generous prize baskets including donated items from local businesses and Toledo-based print artist Jenny Newell. All entrants will receive a custom-made pendant donated by local artist ceramics artist Liz Fox. “Because the competition is so close to Halloween, we also have a costume contest among the teams,” Steinberg said. Prizes will be awarded to the team with the best costumes.
Audience members can join in the fun as well. With a $5 donation to NHS FAN, they will be given “official” notebooks in which to play along. The audience member who spells the most words correctly will receive a prize. The Pronouncer for the event, who will present the words, their definitions, and sentences containing the words, to the teams, will be Newport High School math teacher Brian Hanna. Since its inception, NHS FAN has disbursed about $35,000 to help students pay for academic exams and to purchase classroom supplies for NHS teachers.
Information and photo provided by LCSD