Just like its namesake, the winning team at the 2014 Foundation for Belmont Education’s Spelling Bee “killed it” when it came to correctly spelling words that would stump many adults in the audience.
The Killer Bees – Chenery sixth graders Oliver and Harrison Hees, Loick Marion and Ben Prenderville from teacher Bhuvana Kaushik’s homeroom – capped a successful night by correctly spelling “scintillating” to win the crown over runners-up Chenery Spellers – Will Harkness, Jackson Mann, Maulik Bairathi and Edward Patrick Lee – after both teams survived a near-record 19 rounds of ever challenging words to spell.
“It was stressful,” said Marion who performed most of writing on the white board which was then shown to the judges.
Marion and his teammates took home a $100 savings account from the Belmont Savings Bank and a “star” trophy.
For more than six hours, a multitude of Belmont’s youngest wordsmiths – in teams of two to four – from the town’s four elementary schools and the middle school tackled words ranging from “dog” to “croissant” in the Belmont High School auditorium, cheered on by proud parents taking photos of their spellers.
More than 700 students – a record number – participated in this year’s event, raising $20,000 for the Foundation for Belmont Education. The spellers from the elementary schools were in the non-competitive “swarms” while the wordsmiths from the Chenery Lower School (fifth and sixth grades) were part of the competitive swarms battling to participate in the finals.
Under the smooth direction of long-time MC Greg Stone, the volunteers – pronouncers Laurie Graham and Anne Mahon, time keepers Kevin Cunningham and Anne Lougee along with umpires Suzanne Alcock and Joanna Kaselis Tzouvelis all led by Bee chairs Christa Bauge and Karin Lehr – pulled off the annual feat of patience personified.
The money raised Saturday by the Foundation will support projects initiated and organized by administrators, teachers and staff in the six Belmont public schools.