Teams are studying up to prepare for the second annual Newport Community Spelling Bee, to be held on Sunday, October 16 at 7 pm at the Newport campus of Oregon Coast Community College. The public is invited to attend, and as organizer Nancy Steinberg says, “last year the audience members enjoyed themselves almost as much as the spellers. We have a lot of ways for audience members to get involved in the fun.”
The event is a fund-raiser for Newport High School Funding Academics Now!, an organization that raises funds to support academic programs at Newport High School, including underwriting student testing fees.
The event is unlike the spelling bees of grade school. Teams of four spellers collaborate to spell the words presented to all teams at once. A panel of judges then determines which teams have spelled the words correctly and which will be eliminated. Teams can “bribe” their way back into the competition if they are eliminated, with an additional donation to NHS FAN. “Audience members can help out by contributing to the bribe money for their favorite team,” Steinberg explained. “We’ve also added a new audience participation element: those that pay the five-dollar suggested donation at the door will be given an official bee notebook in which they can play along. The audience member with the most correctly spelled words will win a prize.”
The reigning champions, the Bibliophiles of the Newport Public Library, will return to defend their title against all comers. Challengers will include teams from NOAA, the Newport High School faculty, Newport High School students, Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, and employees of the City of Newport. The pronouncer for the event will again be County Commissioner Bill Hall, and real-life Lincoln County judges Sheryl Bachart and Paulette Sanders will preside over the proceedings for a second year as judges. The winning team’s name will be added to a custom plaque adorned with a glass bee created by Newport artist Katy LaReau. LaReau has also donated custom-made commemorative medallions for bee team members.
There is still room for teams to register for the competition. The registration fee for each team is $200. For more information or to register a team, contact Steinberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.