By Rob Glidden
The Southington Education Foundation is inviting residents to gather in teams of three for its Adult Spelling Bee, a popular fundraiser returning for its third year.
Currently scheduled for April 4 at the Southington High School auditorium, the competition has become a major source of funds for the organization. Last year, 81 teams participated and raised $10,000.
“We’ve built on the numbers each year in terms of team participation and the amount of money raised,” said Town Councilor Dawn Miceli, who chairs the foundation’s board of directors. “If you can pull off this first year of an event like this in Southington, usually you get more public awareness.”
Meteorologist Joe Furey of Fox CT News is returning as the “beemaster,” while Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Erardi and Language Arts Coordinator Betsy Chester serve as judges. The teams are given easy words to start but the winning team will have to come up with the correct spelling for some highly challenging ones before the competition ends.
Last year, the trophy went to the Totally Dominant Bank Spellers, a team made up of the managers from each of the three TD Bank branches in Southington.
“Anything that benefits education in town is a natural partnership for us,” said Rick Veilleux, a member of the team and of the SEF’s board at large. “We were pleased with the turnout last year. It was fun being there at all, winning was just a fun way to finish.”
Teams have made it a tradition to show up in costumes, although this is not a requirement. Miceli said the event was less about a high-stakes competition and more about gathering the resources needed for the foundation to continue its goal of providing unique education opportunities in Southington.
The funds raised will go towards individual grants for teachers but also a larger initiative – the planned STEM educational center at Camp Sloper that has been a goal of the foundation for years.
“It’s not like a child’s spelling bee where you stand up alone in the spotlight,” Miceli said. “You’re at a table with two of your friends or family or co-workers. There’s collaboration.”
Entry forms and more information can be found at the foundation’s website, www.southingtoneducationfoundation.org.