The Bee Musketeers deliver an afflatus performance at adult spelling bee

April 20, 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek
The 7th Annual “Grate Groan–Up Spelling Bee,” hosted by Next Step Literacy (formerly known as the Literacy Council of South Simcoe), was held last Saturday evening at The Club at Bond Head.
Sixteen teams took part in the battle, fighting for the honour of being named the “Spell Spellers,” all while raising money and awareness for the adult tutoring centre.
Wearing costumes and selecting names such as, “To Bee or Not to Bee,” teams of three took to the stage while Master Pronouncer, Laurie Laing, assigned words for group spelling, offering a definition and using the word in a sentence.
The first word of the night was “Wednesday.” Although spelled correctly, it was pointed out that Wednesday had a capital W, by Deputy Mayor, Jamie Smith, and technically was misspelled.
The first word actually missed this year was “broccoli,” by The Bee Hives (Mary Feehely, Colleen Butler, Liana Maddocks). They missed the second “c,”  but bought their way back into play using a lifeline.
The next word missed was “cemetery,” spelled incorrectly with an ‘a’ instead of ‘e.’
Heifer tripped up a third group, and more tricky words, such as byre, assuage, allege, minuscule, and acolyte slowly saw teams eliminated.
With four teams left standing, the Crickets (CRIC, or Community Recreation Improvement Committee) members, Alison Jacks, Chris Ross and Alan Lacey did battle against Three Blonde Mice members, Amanda Fellows, Jeff Long, and Lisa Pelletier, for third place. The Crickets took the win when Three Blonde Mice missed “miscible.”
Crickets were later defeated by To Bee or Not to Bee (Betty Cerar, Ian Darwin and Joan McFarland), after missing “sinecure.”
The “To Bee’s” then went head-to-head in a sudden death match against the sword wielding Musketeers. They misspelled the word “caesura” (meaning: a pause marking a rhythmic point of division in a melody), then the Musketeers misspelled “maenad.” The To Bee’s then missed “fazil” and the Musketeers lost to “logorrhea.” The To Bee’s misspelled their next word, “acedia,” but this time, the Musketeers got their word right.
The Bee Musketeers team, comprised of John Rosenthal, Marianne von Cube and Deb Rouleau, win bragging rights, trophies and gifts for their spelling abilities.
The judges, Lisa Morgan 107.5 KOOL FM, JD Firth 92.1 MyFM, and Wendy Gabrek, Trillium Ford Lincoln Ltd., got to award further prizes for:
• Best Costume:  Wordsmiths’ Wonderland (Dian Bowens, Michele Dinnick-Schulze, and Charlene Ryan)
• Most Team Spirit: The Bee Hives
Team entry for the event was $250, which included dinner for three.
There was also a silent auction to held bolster proceeds.
Monies raised at the event will help Next Step Literacy, a not-for-profit organization, continue to offer free, one-to-one tutoring to adults in reading, writing, math and computers, through customized training plans to help students progress toward their personal goals, at their own pace, in a confidential and supportive environment.
Next Step is dedicated to raising awareness about literacy issues, in New Tecumseth, Adjala-Tosorontio, Innisfil, Essa, and Bradford West Gwillimbury, and began as a grassroots organization when a group of concerned citizens joined together to help people in their community improve their reading and writing skills.
In addition to hosting fundraisers, such as the Spelling Bee, Next Step receives funding through the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. They also rely on the support of the community for services-in-kind, donations and volunteer hours.
If you are in need of adult tutoring or know someone who is, Next Step is located at 16 Victoria St E. Alliston. Call them at 705 435-5624, e-mail or visit them online at

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