Cyber Knights will kick off the SEF community spelling bee on April 30


Citizens, town government officials, teachers, police officers, fireman, and many more will compete in teams of three at the Southington Education Foundation (SEF) fifth annual Community Spelling Bee. The event will take place in the high school auditorium on April 30 at 7 p.m.

This year, representatives from the Southington High School robotics team the Cyber Knights will be bringing a robot for a demonstration to kick off the event.

“It’s great because they’re going to nationals this month, and they’re one of the areas we have been supporting,” said SEF President Jan Galati. SEF has provided $5,500 to robotics competitions over the last three years as a part of their STEM initiative.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun with the robots. It’s a lot of excitement in the community about this group,” said Galati. “It’s an opportunity to showcase a group that works so hard and represents the community well.”

Although the event is just around the corner, there is still time to register for the spelling bee. For $100 per person or $300 per team, 30 teams will compete for a trophy and the title of SEF Spelling Champion. The deadline for registration is April 24.

Teams can give this money as a donation or find community sponsors to support their registration fee. The registration fee for teams from Southington High School is reduced $100.

According to Galati, most of the funds SEF raises at this event come from the team registration fee; however, this year SEF is asking local businesses to become sponsors. Hartford Healthcare is providing $1,000 as a sponsor for the event.

Galati said the event can even be a lot of fun for members of the audience, who in the past have dressed up in costumes like cheerleaders to root for their favorite team.

The Spelling Bee Master will be Al Terzi, who will say the word first, give it in a sentence, and then repeat the word.

One person in each team will be given a white board to write the spelling of the word, the other two team members will write down what they believe to be the correct spelling of the word on their own notepads. The teams will be timed.

After the team confers, they will have to hold up the white board to the audience to give their final answer. The correct spelling of the word will be displayed on a screen.

“It’s been a very strong turnout,” said Galati. “It’s actually a lot of fun for the audience, because they can see if they spell the word correctly.”

The judges for the SEF Spelling Bee will be Southington Public Schools (SPS) Superintendent Tim Connellan and SPS Language Arts Coordinator Stephanie Lawlor. There will be five rounds, and the final round will include the last three standing teams, so as soon as a team misspells a word they will be immediately disqualified.

There is no admission fee for the event, but attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for donation to the Southington Community Services.

“The history behind this spelling bee is that Alan DeBisschop saw it while he was on summer vacation, and he brought it back to Southington,” said Galati. “He chaired this committee for several years and has really helped to make it what it is.”

Visit to register before the deadline on April 24. For more information call Galati at 860-628-0279.

“Looking forward to seeing who is going to take home the trophy will it be the team from last year?” said Galati. Last year’s winners were called the “Wanna Bees,” which included team members Dave Pestillo, Joe Peccerillo, and John Zimmerman.

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