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Spellers unite for community bee

Tuesday, 6:30, at Mohawk

Contestants at Mary Lyon Foundation spelling bee in 2012. (Recorder file photo)

Contestants at Mary Lyon Foundation spelling bee in 2012. (Recorder file photo)

BUCKLAND — The eighth annual Mary Lyon Foundation Community Spelling Bee has created such a buzz that teams have had to be turned away for the costumed, adult event Tuesday night, beginning at 6:30 at the Mohawk Trail Regional School.

Now all the audience has to do is show up, choose among at least 100 raffle items to bid on, and have fun.

Instead of 25 sponsored teams, this year’s bee has 30 — plus some other teams on stand-by, in case of any last-minute openings, says Sue Samoriski, executive director of the Foundation.

“We’re absolutely thrilled there’s so much community support for education. And that people are having such a good time doing it,” she said.

The community spelling bee was created to raise money for West County educational programs that are not in the school budget. The Mary Lyon Foundation has raised over $1 million for local education. The $7,000 raised each year from the spelling bee has been mostly used to award mini-grants for classroom and school projects, with a small amount going to a student assistance fund.

There are two funding rounds each year, with about $3,000 awarded in each round. The 25 mini-grants awarded this fall include: enhancing literacy through music, “Life in a Wheelchair,” a presentation for children in Grades 5 and 6; podcasting in journalism, at Mohawk; fly-fishing, building a computer, yoga instruction, and designing and building solar cars.

The spelling bee teams each have three members, with local businesses sponsoring most of the teams.

Mohawk Principal Lynn Dole is currently in China, but she returns home on Monday and plans to take her place on the Mohawk Wordliers spelling team.

This year’s teams also include three teams of Mohawk students: the Fantasy Book Club, National Honor Society and Varsity M.

Past spelling bee grand champions, Blackmer’s Beautys, Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters Spelling Beans, and the Franklin Regional Council of Government “In-COG-nito” are back to keep or reclaim their titles.

Besides “best speller,” the contestants also compete for “best costumes,” which are determined by a second set of judges.

Donated raffle prizes include overnight getaways and restaurant certificates, books, hand-blown glass, gift baskets, artworks, automotive services, school and office supplies.

Usually, the auditorium fills up for the event.

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