It took literally hundreds of words and a little controversy over the spelling of “barbecue,” but in the end a love of caffeine helped "The Totally Dominant Bank Spellers" team and members Rick Veilleux, Rosemary DeFeo and Kelly Stefans take home bragging rights Thursday at the Second Annual SEF Spelling Bee.
“Cappuccino” was the word that eventually led to their victory.
In the end, however, it was the children of Southington who found themselves the real winners as the annual adult spelling bee hosted by the Southington Education Foundation at helped raise nearly $10,000 by nights end to be used for grants in Southington classrooms.
The second annual event drew 81 participants, including teams from local schools, the Board of Education offices, banks, local politicians, regular residents and even the previous three Miss Connecticut winners.
“We were blown away by the response we got this year. We aimed for 30 teams and we ended up having 27 participating in the end,” said Dawn Miceli, president of the Southington Education Foundation. “Although we didn’t reach the goal we had set, there were so many other organizations that were willing to donate and help out with our mission, even if they weren’t directly participating.”
The 2012 spelling bee, sponsored by , will help fund a variety of projects in Southington classrooms, as well as helping fund the STEM program at the YMCA Camp Sloper said Alan DeBisschop, foundation treasurer and member of the spelling bee committee.
STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, brings the fourth-graders from each of Southington’s public schools to the East Street camp property for a special hands-on educational experience.
DeBisschop said that the spelling bee, paired with several other events, would also help with fundraising for a Science Center that would also be built at .
“To date, events like these and the support we have received has led to the distribution of more than $76,000 for teachers to bring unique opportunities to Southington classrooms,” he said.
It’s this kind of support that led Board of Education members Terry Lombardi, Patricia Queen and Chairman Brian Goralski to get past the nervous feelings and take to the stage for the children in the community.
Goralski and Lombardi said the event and the assistance provided by the foundation, an all volunteer organization, is a perfect example of the partnership needed to provide added educational opportunities that will give Southington students an edge once they graduate.
“There is one common goal here, with every team participating, and that’s the kids,” Lombardi said. “This just shows how the whole town is willing to come together in so many ways to do things for the kids that we as a board would not otherwise have been able to fund. The kids are the real winners here.”
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