Community Spelling Bee on Thursday

  • Goofy getups are a big part of the Mary Lyon Foundation spelling bee. Teams Stellar Students Super Start and Varsity M, in this file photo, went out in style at a previous spelling bee. Recorder File Photo

  • The “Perennial Artists” team won “best costume” one year for coming dressed as “The Bridge of Flowers.” Recorder file photo

Recorder Staff
Monday, November 13, 2017

BUCKLAND — “Take care of your spelling, reading, writing and singing,” educator Mary Lyon once said, and on Thursday, the community will do just that at the 12th annual Community Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Mary Lyon Foundation at the Mohawk High School, on Route 112 (Ashfield Road).

Each year, costumed teams of high-school age and older wrangle over words like “crepuscular” (twilight behavior) and “furfuraceous” (covered with scaly particles). They write down the spellings reached by team consensus on large whiteboards. Many in the audience bring their own pencils and notebooks, to play along.

This year, 24 teams of three players will compete for the championship, raising at least $7,000 along the way to benefit educational programs throughout western Franklin County. The spelling bee begins at 6:30.

For the public, there is free admission, free refreshments and a free door prize registration, but many great raffle prizes to bid on — which will bring in more money for mini-grants for educational classroom programs. Raffle prizes this year include breakfast and stays at local bed and breakfasts, ski passes, rafting, a day of golf at the Greenfield Country Club and Terrazza Restaurant, YMCA memberships, gift certificates from many local businesses, and a simple will and healthcare proxy from lawyer Jennifer Breuer.

A new silent auction prize this year is “a rock in a box.” Mary Lyon Foundation founder and co-Executive Director Sue Samioriski explained that it is similar to a “no-bake bake sale” concept, in which the would-be bakers just donate money instead of their time and costs to make pastries. The rock-in-a-box is an ordinary rock in a handmade wooden box, and the goal is to see how much money can be raised with it, from people who just want to donate to a worthy cause. The person who bids highest will get this prize, and may later donate it to a future organization for another silent auction, Samioriski said.

Lloyd Crawford of Hawley wants to keep track of each time the rock-in-a-box is used to raise money for a worthy cause, and is hoping it will raise a lot for worthwhile programs in western Franklin County.

Shelburne Town Clerk Joe Judd will be chairman of the event, and six judges will be on board to decide the spelling outcome. Besides spelling, “best costume” is also a competitive honor.

This year’s Queen Bee Sponsor is Greenfield Savings Bank, and Honeybee sponsors are Eddie’s Wheels, Manny’s Appliances, The Optician, New England Meetinghouse Design and Liberty Tax.