'Bee-Ware' of Zany Spellers
The annual Spelling Bee for Literacy moves to a new hive for its ninth year, making its new home in the Pinecrest High School auditorium.
The event will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Tickets, which are general admission, are a $10 donation. Students under the age of 18 are admitted free. Reserved seats are available for Bee Boosters only.
"If you want to be a Bee Booster, make a $100 donation and receive two reserved seats in the Queen's Court section, plus a raffle ticket for a $100 gift certificate to The Country Bookshop," says Katherine Stevenson, a member of the committee.
Contestants from the 19 teams will parade down the aisles to the stage, where they will be joined by the Queen Bee (MCLC Executive Director Susan Sherard) and David Woronoff, publisher of The Pilot, who will again act as master of ceremonies. The Pilot is the presenting sponsor of this annual event.
"We are pleased to have been involved with the Bee since its inception," says Woronoff. "And what better organization can a newspaper support than the MCLC, which teaches people a most cherished skill - to read."
"Every year of the Bee is different," says Sherard. "The event reflects the diverse personalities and inventiveness of individual teams and talented MCLC volunteers who make it happen."
Each team has three adults, often in costume, who are tasked with spelling words the likes of which most of the audience has never heard.
Teams for 2013:
n Boles Funeral Home (Marsha Southers, Denise Grandolfo, Cathy Davis);
n Carolina Eye Associates, winners of the 2012 Keep the Hive Alive Award (Arghavan Almony, Daniel Messner, Jeffrey White);
n Congregational Church of Pinehurst (Robert Cox, Nancy Kinney, Mike Soboeiro);
n First Bank (Chuck Boyer, Sheila Howard, Stewart McFadyen);
n Friends of Longleaf (Jeanne Crowell, Emily Hauslohner, Don Lock);
n Golf Capital Chorus (Preston Smith, Ron Sutton, Fred Wolferman);
n Keller Williams (Jill Ford, Shannon Stites, Heather Rieff);
n Moore County Schools (Aaron Spence, Lisa Scott, Jason Sparks);
n Penick Village (Gail Cummings, Dorothea Brick, Karen Sharpe);
n Sandhills Children's Center (Paula Daigle, Melanie Carnes, Erin Newcomb);
n Southern Pines Yoga Company (Megan Grieshaber, Michelle Kaiser, Christy Mickle);
n St. Joseph of the Pines, winners of the 2012 Best Costume Award (Saoussen Dhamna, Mike Shepard, Dawn Wilson);
n Stifel Nicolaus (Bill Eastman, Jennifer Ellison, Windy Pratt);
n Southern Pines Rotary (Patrick Mackie, Rick McDermott, Brant Clifton);
n The O'Neal School (Lara Allen, Kyle Flechsig, Josh Roberts);
n The Pilot (Kerry Hooper, John Nagy, Mary Novitsky);
n Pinehurst Resort (Joyce Arnott, Jean Funderburg, Beth Bennington); and
n Town of Aberdeen (Kathy Liles, Jim McRae, Regina Rosy).
The Friends of Longleaf, which won the 2012 Best Spellers Trophy, has been a part of the Bee from its inception.
"I came in on the second year," says team member Don Locke, who says that studying word lists doesn't really make much difference in the outcome. "You just go with your instincts."
The Aberdeen team is making its first appearance this year.
"The Town of Aberdeen is very excited to be participating in the spelling bee for the first time this year," says team member Regina Rosy, human resources director and town clerk. "Aberdeen Exterminating generously donated to sponsor a team from the town, and that is why we decided to participate.
Teams also compete for other awards: Keep the Hive Alive Award, for >the team that raises the most money; >Best Costume, for the trio that >stuns the crowd with its get-up; and Best Buzz Award, for >the team that most delights, surprises and/or shocks the audience with its >stage presence.
Boles Funeral Home's team won last year's Best Buzz award, entering the auditorium complete with a casket. What will they do to top that?
"I don't want to give away any secrets," says Emily Boles, after-care coordinator and manager of the Good Shepherd Pet Crematory and Cemetery, who is also responsible for recruiting a large contingent to support the team at this year's Bee. "Anything we do, we do it big and dramatically."
"The Keep the Hive Alive pots will return to the lobby, to make it easy for you to place your donation in your favorite team's pot, both before the show and during intermission," says Stevenson.
Two theater students, one from Pinecrest High School and the other from Union Pines High School, will be the judges for the Best Buzz and Best Costume prizes.
New this year is the Best Dressed Guest Award, which goes to the audience member who arrives in costume, gets photographed on the Bee Carpet, and is judged most "bee-dazzling, delightful, amazing ... whatever."
"When you walk in the door, you'll see the Bee Bazaar, where you can purchase handcrafted bee jewelry and book bags and order this year's amazing bee-shirt and caps with bee logos," says Stevenson.
Union Pines students and teachers are helping out behind the scenes.
"The Union Pines Pep Band returns this year, playing from the balcony," says Stevenson. "Beth Christensen, a teacher at Union Pines, is serving as stage manager for a second year. She's recruited six colleagues to be stage hands on Bee night."
Union Pines art students are helping create a leader board and the Queen Bee's throne.
Behind all of this fun and frolic, the money raised goes toward the serious work of the Moore County Literacy Council, which provides free, individualized tutoring services to assist the 22 percent of Moore County's adult population that lacks the literacy skills to >function well in daily life.
This year's fundraising goal is $35,000. >In addition to The Pilot, there are five Queen's Court sponsors: Stifel Nicolaus, St. Joseph of the Pines, First Bank, The O'Neal School and Tangram Media.
"The real winners of the evening are our students, who are trying to improve their lives by improving their literacy skills," says Sherard.
Tickets are available in advance at The Pilot, 145 W. Pennsylvania Ave., in Southern Pines, and also at the door.
The spelling bee is a uniquely Southern Pines event," Woronoff says. "It's infectious, contagious; people want to be part of it."
For more information about the Bee and about Moore County Literacy Council, visit www.mcliteracy.com.
Contact Faye M. Dasen at (910) 693-2475 or fdasen@ thepilot.com.
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