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Next Step hosts 10th Annual Grate Groan–Up Spelling Bee, raises $20K

April 18, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek

The 10th Annual Grate Groan–Up Spelling Bee took place Saturday, April 13 at The Club at Bond Head, raising $20,000 for Next Step, a not-for-profit, one-to-one adult tutoring centre in Alliston. This year, 140 costume-clad participants, on 14 teams, took part in the elimination Bee competing for the title of Best Speller.

This years teams were: 

• AutoCorrectors – sponsored by CUPE 905 – Ashley Fric, Asley Stoneman, Tara MacPhail (from CUPE 905) 

• “Readers” of the Pack – sponsored by McDermott Insurance – Jaclyn Langman, Valerie Ellis, Alison Morning (from Contact’s Bradford Works) 

• Reddy to Read – sponsored by #1 Ladies Literary Society and Knitting Circle – Alison Kerr, Adelaide Campbell, Cael Cohen 

• Scourge of the Seven Bees – sponsored by Feehely Gastaldi – Colleen Butler, Liana Maddocks, Mary Feehely 

• The Happy Bees – sponsored by Feehely Gastaldi – Peter McKenna, Amanda Swarbrek, Vivienne Swarbrek 

• Spell Binders – sponsored by The Herald – Kelly Corbyn, Beverly Horton, Margaretta Naray (from Matthews House Hospice)       

• Spelling Bee Gees – sponsored by Silvercrest Construction Ltd. – Michelle Dinnick, Mary Penner, Charlene Ryan (Wordsmiths from the South Simcoe Arts Council) 

• Spell’s Angels – sponsored by BDO – Carey Paulusma, Nicole Savini, Lori Grimmer (from Contact Community Service) 

• Super B.E.A. – Jack Atlas, Anne Emptage, Kim Berek  

• Smart Cookies – sponsored by C.D. Laing – Mary Lou Gilmour, Pat Daley, Tory Maxwell (tutors from Next Step)     

• SupercalifragilisticexBEEalidocious – sponsored by The Circle Theatre – Kate Wager, Christy Medeiros, Ron Stewart 

• The BEE-tles – New Tecumseth Public Library – Mark Gagnon, Graeme Peters, Chris Lee 

• The Powers That Bee – Green Briar – Bee-Laire Fisher, Mini Deb-Bee Rouleau, Johnny Bee Rosenthal 

• Queen Bees – sponsored by The Tooth Doctors – Margaret McCormack, Liana McCabe, Bonnie Tiffin (from My Sister’s Place).

The evening, organized by the ‘Queen Bee’ herself, Next Step’s executive director Shira Harrison McIntyre, was un-bee-lievable thanks to Master Pronouncer Laurie Laing, Judges Lawrence Hill (award-winning Canadian author), Lachlan McGurk (owner of Bern’s Flowers, Alliston) and Wendy Gabrek (Trillium Ford/The Times).

Emceeing the event again for 2019 was teacher Craig Butler. Sound was provided by Dayne Polny (We Love Sound), and decor by Darlene Rupke (Seasons Floral Studio).

Volunteers Jan Atkinson, Amy Bagshaw, Shayla Bodnar, Constance Bolt, Wayne Callan, Rachel Coleman, and William McIntyre, as well as Next Step’s President of the Board of Directors, Michael Laine, helped make the event the success it was.

For 2019, teams were able to access a ‘Life Line’ (to call upon a friend/ask an audience member when in trouble), use a ‘Buy Back’ ($20) – for those teams who misspelled a word, but wanted to keep playing, and, new this year, was the ‘Teammate Substitution’ or Rule #2 – useful as words became harder, and team members became fatigued. 

The Bee began with the sound of bagpipes, as played by Lachlan McGurk, as the ‘COD’ (Canadian Oxford Dictionary) was paraded through the room followed by the judges and master pronouncer.

An official welcome from Next Step Board President, Michael Laine, followed the practice round. Shira Harrison McIntyre, gave her address later in the evening, thanking everyone who had a part in the Bee by name. Of note were her remarks on the need for adult tutoring in the community, and the expansion of Next Step’s services into Angus, as well as two additional weekday evenings.

In Round One, each team approached the stage to their very own theme music, and no words were misspelled. In Round Two, however, teams started missing, and the second team to spell was the first miss of the night. “Readers” of the Pack missed ‘cemetery’ (using an ‘a’), followed by The Happy Bees who missed ‘noticeable’. The Spelling Bee Gees missed ‘vacuum’ (using two c’s), followed by Spell’s Angels who then missed ‘dumbbell’ (missing the second ‘b’). All of the teams used their Buy Backs to stay in the competition. Round Three was off to a great start, with the first five teams spelling words correctly. Spell Binders then missed ‘license’ (using a ‘c’), followed by the Spelling Bee Gees who used their “Life Line” with help with the spelling of ‘gouge’ – they got it right. Super B.E.A. then pulled a competition first – spelling a completely different word than the one given! However they spelled both words correctly for the win – reconnect and recommend. The BEE-tles missed ‘exhilarate’, but used a Buy Back to stay in play.

At the end of the round, all teams were still in play. In Round Four “Readers of the Pack” missed ‘assent’ (spelling ‘ascent’ – having a different meaning than the word given), and became the first casualties of the night. Super B.E.A. missed ‘braze’ but bought back in, and Queen Bees got one of the accepted spellings for ‘diarrhea’, a word that generated applause and laughter from the entire room. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a room get so happy over diarrhea,” said emcee Butler. 

Lawrence Hill also spoke, mesmerizing the audience with his words. Hill spoke about his experiences working with youth and incarcerated individuals, spreading his love of literacy and thanking Next Step for their continued efforts. 

After dinner, Round Five began – and this is when things got tough. First to miss were the AutoCorrectors with ‘assuage’, but they still had a Buy Back. Next to choke was Spell’s Angels – missing ‘minuscule’. Making them the second team out. Smart Cookies then missed ‘sergeant’ – but bought back in. SupercalifragilisticexBEEalidocious then missed ‘supersede’ using a ‘c’, but the judges allowed the additional spelling and they continued in the Bee. In Round Six Reddy to Read misspelled ‘baize’ but bought back in. Scourge of the Seven Bees used Rule #2 and switched out teammates this round (removing their former teammate in brutal pirate fashion), and got their word, ‘caterwaul’ right. Super B.E.A. then got the word ‘queue’ – “A word where eighty per cent of the letters are unnecessary,” said emcee Butler. They got it right.

In Round Seven, AutoCorrectors went first, and were first out, missing ‘sacrilegious’. They were third to go. The Happy Bees used their Life Line next (calling upon table sponsor, Jay Feehely) for help with the word ‘colliery’. But Spell Binders missed ‘lubricious’ and were fourth out. Next, Spelling Bee Gees missed ‘acolyte’ and were fifth out.

The final casualty of the round was Queen Bees who missed ‘clerestory’. They were sixth to go. In Round Eight play, The Happy Bees missed ‘obloquy’, but no one was happy to see them go. They were seventh out. The cookies then crumbled, with Smart Cookies being the eighth team eliminated – over the word ‘immanent’.

In Round Nine, The Powers That Bee missed ‘antonomasia’ but used a Buy Back. Scourge of the Seven Bees needed a stress ball to spell ‘argillite’, even with help from yet another new teammate. They missed, but used a Buy Back. Super B.E.A. was next to leave, missing ‘naiad’. They were ninth out.  

In Round Ten, just five teams remained. Reddy to Read was first to miss, with the word ‘internecine’ tripping them up. Even with help from a Life Line. Scourge of the Seven Bees used a new technique, “Arr!, that looks pretty,” to guess at the spelling of ‘sinecure’ – and got it right.   SupercalifragilisticexBEEalidocious missed ‘achene’, followed by The Powers That Bee who missed ‘anacoluthon’. These misses ensured the win for the New Tecumseth Public Library team, The BEE-tles! They finished in First Place.

A “Spell-Off” then took place to determine the second and third place winners. In Round One, Reddy to Read missed ‘saggar’, and Scourge missed ‘logorrhea’ – even with a Life Line. The Powers That Bee missed ‘swingeing’, but SupercalifragilisticexBEEalidocious got ‘acedia’ making them the second-place winners. In Round Two Reddy to Read missed ‘catachresis’ and Scourge of the Seven Bees missed ‘ossein’. The Powers That Bee got their word, ‘seiche’ right – and secured the third place spot. 

Winners from the top three teams were presented with rosette ribbons, collectible bee pins, and bragging rights for the year. 

Judge’s Choice Awards were also handed out for: 

Best Costumes: SupercalifragilisticexBEEalidocious

Most Team Spirit: Scourge of the Seven Bees  

Best Speller: Kate Wagner (second year in a row)

There are many adults in our community who do not have the reading, writing or math skills to meet the daily challenges of home, work or life. These people suffered from disabilities and traumas that kept them from learning and now they suffer from fear of being ridiculed. Next Step is a non-profit, volunteer organization that provides free, one-to-one tutoring for adults. Scheduling is flexible and assistance with travel costs can even be arranged if needed. They have evening hours and work with people with goals of finishing High School, getting their G.E.D., improving their skills for work or for personal reasons. They are currently in need of volunteer tutors. If you have two hours a week to help someone improve their life, please give them a call. If you know of someone who could benefit from some help with their reading, writing or math, let them know about Next Step. Help someone find the help they need. Encourage them to contact Next Step or contact Next Step on their behalf.

Next Step is located at 16 Victoria Street East, Alliston. Call them at 705 435-5624, e-mail info@nextstepliteracy.ca or visit them online at nextstepliteracy.ca


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