APRIL 14, 2011

Library Team Wins Community Spelling Bee

The D’Backs and Rockies weren’t the only teams in town during March.  The 1st Annual Desert Foothills Community Spelling Bee introduced us to the Spellas on Fyah, the Hook & Book ‘Ems, the Soroptospellers, the Stiff Bees Knees, the Geezer Bees, Skiller Bees and some 35 other teams all vying to outspell each other through 7 heated innings at the Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center on March 30.

Contestants ranged from 17 years old to “I no longer admit my age.”  They worked in teams of three and represented businesses, schools, non-profits, HOA’s and clubs from Carefree, Cave Creek and North Scottsdale.  Each had 25 seconds to spell such challenging words as encephalitis, diaphanous, and herpetology. But it was panophobia that allowed the true orthographic (look it up) skills of the Desert Foothills Library team of Stephanie Bradley, Sandy Walchuk, and Tom Whittington, to win the Paul (Buzz) Schilling Trophy.

“We were definitely astounded to be the last gang standing,” said Stephanie, “and thrilled to have the library win the trophy”, she added.

Luckily, for the spellers and the audience alike, the Bee was officiated by some heavy hitters.  Debbi Burdick, Superintendent of Cave Creek United School District, Paul Dale, President of Paradise Valley Community College, and George Scobas, President & CEO of Valley of the Sun YMCA, had to enter the fray only a few times to remind teams to admit defeat, put down their pens, and turn down their nameplates.  Louise Rosenburgh, former President of the Foothills Community Foundation and Bee Chief Justice and Pronouncer, had to avert one near bench clearing brawl when the Hook & Book ‘Em local police team outspelled the fire department’s Spellas on Fyah.  Emcee Mike Cassidy, Senior Executive Director of the Desert Foothills YMCA, had the dubious honor of keeping the rowdy audience in check.

There was a bit of royalty to the Bee, also.  Attired in ensembles fit for the upcoming nuptials at Westminster Abbey, the Bee Royal-Tea team of Jo Gemmill, Beverly Brewer, and Hilary Davis of the English Rose Tea Room in Carefree swept the field in the best costume category.

The big winner of the evening was Partners in Education (P.I.E.) a program of the Foothills Community Foundation (FCF).  Over the past twenty years, PIE has provided more that two million dollars in scholarships and Teacher Vision Grants in support of our local students and teachers.  The event grossed over $16,500.00 thanks to sponsors like Carefree Physical Therapy, Bob Blakemore/Mutual of Omaha Bank, Foothills Chiropractic Clinic, Animal Hospital at Terravita, the Bad Donkey, the English Rose Tea Room, Scully Learning Center, Scottsdale Health Care, Noah Kendrick/Edward Jones, and a host of individual residents, PTOs and local organizations.