By Wicker Van Orsdel
Spring fever…who’s got it? I know I do! Even though we‘ve had the mildest winter ever, I am ready for the seasons to change. As a HarBEEnger of spring Break, Orchard Place hosted its 8th annual Spelling Bee at People’s Court March 8.
I remember participating in the very first Orchard Place Spelliing Bee in 2004 when it was at Hoyt Sherman. It has truly evolved considerably from the original concept! It is wacky fun at its best. This year’s sponsor was Nationwide and the company had a huge presence at the event with several teams entered to show off their orthographic skills. Toby O’Berry, president of the Orchard Place Foundation Board and one of the owners of People’s Court, donated this perfect venue. I emceed the evening’s festivities, costumed, of course, as the compelling and compulsory “Queen of the BEE.”
I must admit, that after a couple of hours of sporting the beehive wig I was itchin’ to take it off.
My duties were not just ceremonial. Eye had two enunciate the words, define and cheque for the correct spelling!! They had two BEE letter perfect awl the weigh. What pressure! We went on so long that we ran out of “very difficult” words and had to go back to just “difficult.” The contestants were rather happy about that. They were having more fun than an electric eel in a public bath and so were their cheering sections. (Could that have been the apple-tinis at work?) I had super help from judges Kim Giudicessi, of Christopher’s Restaurant, and Angie Goodman of Nationwide. They were instrumental in keeping time, and assigning the prize awards. Plus… it’s always good to know a judge.
Prizes were awarded for Best Spellers, Best Costumes, Best Team Name, Best Cheering Section, and Most Money Raised, so the teams went all out with their zaniness quotient and creativity. Here are the results of the night:
Champion Spellers: The Board BEEs. Rob Gavin, John Schmidt, and Andrew Herrera. These guys were “the suits.” They were so excited they almost loosened their ties. I think they won because they have been around since way before spell-check was invented.
Best Cheering Section and Most Money Raised: Defending champs from last year, BFFs, sponsored by Nationwide. Aileen Crawford, Stephanie Kempf, Deborah Shaffer, and Lou Ferin, Jr.
Best Costume: BEEkini Bottom Crew, sponsored by Doug and Val Saltsgaver: Danielle Ebel, Linda Joynes, Karen Lindquist and Michelle Lamb. You might think they were scantily clad, but no, they were dressed as Sponge-Bob Square-pants and friends, who “live in a pineapple under the sea!”
Best Team Name: What Not to BEE, sponsored by Nationwide: Katie Viesselman, Brian Pitterle and Lisa Bonnichsen, It took me a while to get this one: Flo from Progressive Insurance, the Gecko from Geico Insurance, and the “Crazy Mayhem Guy” from Allstate…Don’t BEE the competition…BEE Nationwide!
I have to mention the The Legal BEE gals, Kristy Latta, Miriam Van Heukelem, and Kristin Cooper, sponsored by Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. They were sharp spellers and that little Miriam was a ringer. “Doppelganger” tripped them up at the last. They won’t forget how to spell that word.
It was a great night for both Orchard Place and Nationwide. The event raised more than $50,000! Lindsey Qualley and Nancy Bobo did most of the heavy lifting. A shout out to Corey Miller for his excellent job at keeping me on task and to Chris Maharry for his tireless photographic skills for so many events.
Hope you will get a team together for next year’s competition! Your company will have new respect for you! See you at the St Paddy’s Day parade!
To view more photos from the Orchard Place Spelling BEE 2012 go to Chris Maharry’s site.