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By Cameron Small
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
These three words might not seem like they have a lot in common, but they all share a commonality besides the letter R. These words were the winning words for each level of the Twenty-first Annual Foundation for Westwood Education Spelling Bee held January 6 at Westwood High School.
On the sixth, 86 third graders, 76 fourth graders, and 54 fifth graders competed for the chance to win the Bee for their grade level. First, teams would have to win their round, beating out three or four other teams to qualify for the final round. The winning team from each round competed in the final to be the winner for that grade level. Most teams competed in teams of four, with some teams of three, and one team of two. The honor and pride of winning the Bee was not the only award at stake, as each member of the winning team would win a $25 check from Foundation.
The monetary award raised the stakes for the spellers, as did slight hiccups along the course of the Bee. One instance was when the third grade moderator, Superintendent John Antonucci, accidentally misread the spelling of “bungalow,” resulting in the elimination of two teams.
The brief snafu was quickly remedied, however, after deciding to throw “bungalow” out and allow the eliminated teams to continue spelling. Coincidentally, three teams — including the teams previously eliminated from the Bee — got the next word wrong, resulting in their re-elimination.
Another hiccup: three rounds - two of third graders and one of fourth graders - in which no teams progressed to the final round for their grade level because all teams spelled the word wrong.
After their victory, the fourth grade winners, the Buzz Boys, spoke about how they prepared for the Bee. All the spellers were provided with a list of five to six hundred words they were responsible for knowing. Then, during reading periods in school, the boys would practice by taking turns saying a word and spelling it. Their hard work paid off, as they won.
The third grade winners, the Three Spellateers, did a similar thing. Though to their distress, they realized two days before the Bee that they had the wrong list from which to learn the words. The mistake didn’t end up costing them anything, since they ended up winning, too.
Westwood spellers can correctly spell words like “recommend,” “confidence,” or “exceed.”
If only the same could be said for some adults.
Congratulations to all the spellers who participated.