Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bee Stats

Initial word list: 1200 words
Published list: 843 words (3 removed due to typos)
Words prepared for the Bee (with pronunciations, definitions and sentences): 164 (~19%)
Words used: 94 (~57% of prepared words, and ~11% of published list)


Monday, April 7, 2008

Wrap-up, Part 2

We had an update today that suggests that we broke last year's fundraising record...THANKS TO ALL!!

More on the stars of the show:
BeeCon Hill (Mary Jo Keaney, Nan Leonard, Senator James Timilty): this team got their words (and name) very late in the game, and their team members changed quite a lot...circumstances which did nothing to showcase their very real abilities. I hope they come back: they're a group to watch!

Non-Fiction Book Club (Barbara Roth-Schecter, Chip Spalding, Gerry Wise): this is one SMART team. They read everything! They're three-year supporters of the Bee and we are so grateful for their ongoing enthusiasm.

Spell Sesquipedalian (Julia Madden, Anna Gaissert, Jackie Carroll): last year's defending champs came skidding in from a late-afternoon athletic event, and gave another terrific performance. We hope they will come back next year--another team to watch; anything could happen!

The Warrant Committee (Robyn Hunter, Nate Van Duzer, and Selectman David Heinlein): well, you already know how I feel about these hard-working folks. They got the words at the last minute, and participated to show their support for our fundraising efforts. Kudos and sincere thanks to these good sports, and a Special Mention for Mr. Heinlein's authentic high-school jacket--very cool!

Taylor Estates (Joe Desalvo, Tom Dixon, Nancy Simms): Bee veterans Simms and Dixon combined forces with new player Joe Desalvo (can I call him a New-Bee?) to win Round 3, on the word "moliminous" --a word that means "massive" or "enormous" and which describes the efforts of all the players in Round 3.

First-time winners Dover Mothers' Association (Gina Doyle, Marisa Fisch and Kristen Sampson) made an excellent showing in Round 4. We especially liked their t-shirts, which boasted the nickname "The Spell-Checkers" on the front and the question "Got Kids?" on the back.

We are always happy to see teen participation in the Bee, and were especially happy to have the Library's own Teen Advisory Board spell again this year. Danielle Hall, Nicole Huang and Lauren Springett, active members of the TAB, gave yet another evening to the service of the Library--thanks!

The Town House Honey Bees had a spirited showing in bright blue shirts and brighter smiles. We were pleased to see Bee Veteran Sue Sheridan playing again, with Sue Hall and Julie Brantley. Their coach was all smiles in the audience, as well. In addition to spelling practice, I think they learned the definition and origin of every word on the list. They probably do crossword puzzles in pen now.

The Spellunkers (Tod Dimmick, Pamela Mok and Wendy Parker) continued to dazzle us with their blinking hats and their spelling skills. They won Round 4 on the word "mogigraphia", which means writer's cramp. (I think all the players had mogigraphia by that point...)

The finalists: Carpe Spellum, the Dover Foundation, Taylor Estates and the Spellunkers, burned through the Championship round and about three pages of extra-hard "Killer Bee" words before the Dover Foundation emerged victorious with the word "kishke".

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wrap Up

I can't believe it's over...but it was so much fun!

The Bee seems larger than life, even in retrospect. Random observations:

Jane Bleakley is the Artist of the YEAR: her set design, with the anthropomorphic putti-style bees flying in and out of the vegitation, astonished and pleased spectators and participants throughout the evening. Her Bee Tree in the foyer was a very fitting display for the generosity of dozens of donors.

Lorie Linnell masterminded the "outside" of the Bee, overseeing treats and Bee Tree Words ALL EVENING LONG. Michelle Donatelli marshalled dozens of bakers to furnish tray after tray of goodies for the spectators.

Marlayne Brace designed the layout and flow of the "inside" of the Bee. Her floor plans and detailed lists of materials and responsible helpers made the evening flow smoothly.

Dover Cable moved mountains of scaffolding to set up in the gym. We trust that their improved vantage points and serious advance planning will yield a TV event that will rival the live event for energy and accessibility.

Now, for the real stars of the show: the Spellers:
Check Paul Keleher's flickr account for photos of teams. Of particular note are:
Bee-lieve It to See It (Connie Dawson, Cathy Chiavarini and Stephen Harte) in their Bee suits and Bee glasses--always a fabulous team, but this year they outdid themselves.
Carpe Spellum (Christine DiMartino, Ellie Herd, and Karen McKoy), our first runners-up, dressed eclectically (although not in tiaras this year; oh, well)--hope to see them again next year, they came SO CLOSE!
Coldwell Banker, Wellesley (Jennifer Blake, Jean McDonnell and Laura Talmud): this loyal team put in another fine performance; they have supported us for 3 years now--THANK YOU!!
The Home Team (Kirk Downing, Deb Reinemann and Louise Snyder): The audience loved these players, particularly their "invented spelling" of various words...lots of fun.
Precious BEEginnings Preschool (Lara Clark, Michael Gilio and Regan Royston): these folks did well and seemed to be pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed the experience--come back again next year as an alumni team!
Bee Spellbound (Nancy Jefferson, Ginny Keniry and James Keohane): this team seemed to have as much fun off-stage as they did on--and the children had a wonderful time rooting for them.
The Capital Bees (Peter Mitchell, Carol Lisbon and Dave Melville): the HATS!! I hope you wear them to Town Meeting!! Please???
Dover Foundation (Rebecca Delgado, Marguerite Eckles, Brent Johnstone): what more can we say? Congratulations!
The Gentilli Geniuses (Sara Muckstadt, Lisa Sussman, Phuong Tang-Tso) were the Lime Green girls with the 18 really good reasons to be in the Bee, including the best cheering section in the event. They win the Spirit Award. What an excellent example for all of our children.
Spellerz from the 'Hood (Kim Chase, Leslie Moore and Andy Thompson) win the Best Costume prize. I think they should be on the cover of the next Town Report.

Will cover the rest to the gym!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The winning word in 2008: KISHKE

which is a type of onion sausage.

It was a wonderful, amazing, successful night and I will write all about it tomorrow and over the weekend. Until then, congratulations to champions The Dover Foundation (Rebecca Delgado, Marguerite Eckles and Brent Johnstone), who edged out Carpe Spellum on the third page of the Especially Difficult Extra Words Just in Case (aka the Killer Bee words). Well done, all, and thank you!

Now, it is time to sleep.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Last-minute musings

The words have been selected, the pronunciations proofed, the sentences written. The programmes have been printed, the tables ordered, the nametags printed. The Bee Tree is organized, the decorations are ready to go. I'm baking cupcakes and brownies with little candy bees on them for the Bee Café. Tomorrow evening our months of planning will come to fruition, and the Bee will take on a life of its own.

I don't know who is more nervous at this moment--the contestants or the Bee committee.

As the compiler of the word list, I have to say it has been a challenge to balance the needs of the more competetive spellers with those who are just in it for fun. We don't want anyone going "out" on the first word, but we do need to establish a clear winner of each round--and, of course, of the Bee itself. Each of the 4 preliminary rounds has 18 words: easier words in the beginning, and harder words towards the end. The Championship Round has 17 words. Because we know we have some extremely good spellers coming, I have crafted a separate list of "Killer Bees": the most difficult words, designed to bring a protracted round to a (hopefully) swift conclusion. I have 75 "Killer Bee" words, and I'm bringing the entire 800+ word list just in case we need it. Remember, the folks who are spelling are really competing against the list, not one another.

Now is the time to remind everyone that all participants in this Bee are winners. They are supporting their town Library, one of Dover's finest treasures. I would like to thank all the participants, most sincerely, for their community spirit and willingness to come out and have fun to benefit the Library. I hope we have a large and appreciative audience to support the players (and to buy all the goodies out in the hall). Because we have had so many private donors to the Bee, all of our expenses have been covered. Everything we make tomorrow night goes directly to the Library via the Friends. It doesn't get much better than that!