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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Another Very Challenging Contest Event

Gilbert Lodge, Twin Lakes Camp, Traverse City
I took this first picture and am including it primarily for my mother, Mrs. Gilbert. Not that our family has any connection to this lovely building. Coincidence, is all. But kind of fun, eh? Gilbert Lodge is the setting for Traverse City's annual Senior Spelling Bee, sponsored by Comfort Keepers. Entrants (who must be at least 55 years of age) pay five dollars each to participate and compete on teams of two or three members. We arrived in the rain, had a wonderful time, and emerged afterward into bright sunshine.

Laurie makes sure everyone is relaxed and has a good time. She makes us all laugh, sometimes at the expense of the good-natured Bee Master, Michael Sheehan. Here's Laurie introducing everyone on Friday, May 4.

Besides being fun for the competitors, the Bee generates spending money for the Traverse City area school spelling champion on his or her trip to the national competition in Washington, D.C. That's where those entry fees go. This year's TC area contender in Washington will be Jack Pasche from Suttons Bay, and here he is with the giant check presented to him from the event sponsor, who has spread the Senior Spelling Bee idea--with connection to the national student contest--far and wide across the country:

Headed for the Nationals
This was a very tough Bee, especially after the Bee Master decided we all needed harder words, or we would be there all day. Dipping into the "more difficult" group, he came up with some doozies. Our team had to spell 'autochthonous' in Round 12, and we were given 'vichyssoise' for Round 13. By the time we got to Round 15, where another elimination left only two remaining teams, ours deliberated so long over the spelling of 'diptych,' and I, the pronouncer, was in such a tizzy over which syllable got the 'i' and which one got the 'y' that I left out one of the consonants! Fortunately for us, the other team misspelled that word, too, so we were still in the game. 'Imbroglio' gave us pause the next time around, but we did it justice. 'Ennui' was a snap. In Round 21, we looked to  the retired lawyer on our team for the correct spelling of 'rescission' after the other team had gotten it wrong, and Marilyn didn't let us down. Our confirming word, the one we had to spell correctly to cement our win, gave us fits: 'eucrasia' was the challenge. We got it! Oh, and did I mention (no, but I will now) that another word earlier in the Bee was 'echidna,' an Australian mammal? Luckily, my teammates had seen this animal recently on the Discovery Channel! For the entire list of words in this year's Bee, see Michael Sheehan's blog post on Wordmall.

Liz, Donna, and Martha
This year's third-place winners were a team always in the top three, with whom we have traded the Bee back and forth several times. Liz Bannister, on the left, 95 years old, is a spelling champion of many years. These ladies are tough competition and great sports!

Kay and Ann
The team coming in second kept us hopping for seven rounds, back and forth, back and forth. They are crack spellers, too. This was their second Bee.

Trudy, Marilyn, sponsor, bee master, and me
And here's my Dog Ears Books team, competing for the sixth consecutive year. Trudy Carpenter, Marilyn Zimmerman and I keep each other on our toes, and we enjoy our annual expedition from Northport to Twin Lakes. There was a team all the way from Antrim County on Friday, so obviously word is getting around. Gerry, doesn't that make you want to get a team together for next year? Road trip, road trip! 


Dawn said...

This is wonderful! Congratulations to all of you - what a great day you had!

P. J. Grath said...

It was even better than that, because before the drive to Twin Lakes our team met at the North End in Northport for Marilyn's breakfast breakfast!

Dawn said...


Gerry said...

Well heck you didn't mention the breakfast part! I would have driven over just for that, plus the opportunity to cheer for Team Dog Ears. Maybe next year.


P. J. Grath said...

Team of Gerry and Luann? Think about it. First Monday in May.