As a Scrabble addict and a crossword puzzle aficionado, I didn’t expect to be stumped at the second annual Friends of the Scarsdale Library Spelling Bee on Friday January 27th. But stumped I was! The evening began with a bit of confusion about the word embarrass – or was it embarass? Neither the judges nor the competing teams were sure. And the confusion was only compounded when “embarass” was projected above the stage, confounding everyone in the audience as well.
The contest included 20 teams with clever names like the Killer Bees, the Bee to Bees, Bee Informeds and Let It Bee. The event was so popular this year that several additional teams were on stand-by. Ed Coleman served as emcee and the tough panel of judges included Mayor Miriam Flisser, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Library Teen Advisory Board member Jamie Tanzer. Just minutes into the first round, one team was caught writing after the bell rang and was out of the contest barely before they began.
The word “embarrass” was followed by several more words that included double letters like mozzarella, Hawaiian, hippopotamus and fricassee. Who knew that “mellifluous” had two “l’s” or that bellwether was spelled without the “a” in weather. The teams fell quickly and the four original rounds were over in a flash.
Intermission was just as much fun as the contest, as Carolyn Mehta and Christine Bensche posed trivia questions to the crowd and gave out prizes for correct answers.
Perhaps you can answer a few of these:
- What is Tin Tin's dog's name?
- Who was the Belle of Amherst?
- Who lived in "an old house in Paris, that was covered in vines?'"
- Which Broadway musical features the song "Marian the Librarian?"
- In what language was “Pippi Longstocking” first published?
While contestants wrote down their answers on white boards during the initial round, in the final round contestants had to come to the mike at center stage to spell the words aloud.
The four final groups were:
- The Meili “Bienli” – Heather Gilcriest Meili and Stephan Meili
- Hip To Bee Square – Lucas Meyer, Esther Sloan and Ian Weston
- Trigens: Randy Jr., Randy III and Brian Guggenheimer
- SpellYouLater: High School students Maleeha Chida, Viveka Kymal, Malika Laurence
They were served up some very tricky words and the final contest was whittled down to two teams from four when one group misspelled “whippoorwill” andanother, “occurrence.” (Those double letters proved to be their undoing.)
That left the Trigens vying against Hip To Bee Square. They went several rounds before the Trigens tripped up on “reconnaissance,” leaving Ian Weston of Hip To Bee Square on stage to spell “conscientious.” And conscientious he was, spelling the word correctly and taking first place for his team.
Spelling bee committee member Carolyn Mehta said, "We are delighted that so many members of the community opened their wallets AND opened their dictionaries to support the Scarsdale Library. The 2012 bee was even more successful and even more fun than last year's bee!"
Thomson Reuters was this year’s “Platinum Sponsor” and the “Diamond Sponsors” included Houlihan Lawrence, Paul Hastings LLP, Bradford and Phyllis Perkins, and Rick and Sara Werder.
Photos courtesy of Jake Brodsky
The Friends of the Scarsdale Library sent in the following letter to thank the community and bee sponsors:
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Friends of the Scarsdale Library, we would like to express our gratitude to so many in the community for making our Second Adult and Teen Spelling Bee a tremendous success. As Carolyn Mehta commented, “We are delighted that people opened their wallets AND opened their dictionaries to support the Scarsdale Library.” The funds raised will be used to revitalize the Children’s Room.
Congratulations to all the team members and particularly to our winning team, Hip To Bee Square (Lucas J. Meyer, Esther Sloan and Ian Weston). Both our champions and our runners up (the Trigens, Randy Jr, Randy III and Brian Guggenheimer) made the finals last year also!
Please support our generous sponsors: Platinum: Thomson Reuters; Diamond: Houlihan Lawrence, Paul Hastings LLP, Bradford & Phyllis Perkins, and Sara & Rick Werder; Gold: Country Bank, Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, Renu & Anil Lalwani, and Sylvan Learning Center; and Silver: Christie-Spencer Corporation, Christine & John Bensche, Coldwell Banker, Frank’s Home Improvements & Siding Co, Joan & Howard Rothman, Scarsdale Improvement Corporation, Sontag Advisory, and Jonathan & Nicole Ungar. Numerous “Friends of the Bee” also made donations to help us achieve our goal.
Our heartfelt appreciation to Prudential Centennial Realty for donating the grand prize (Kindle Touch 3Gs) and Testtakers for donating an SAT study course; our other raffle donors (Scarsdale Skin Care, SoulCycle and Tracey Novick/Ah!Dorned); our team prize donors (BlueQ, Chat, Eastchester Fish Gourmet, Hartsdale Wine and Liquors, Moscato, and Vintology); and our refreshment donors (Shop Rite, California Pizza Kitchen, Standing Room Only, and Whole Foods).
We would also like to thank our fantastic emcee Ed Coleman; our esteemed judges NYS Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Mayor Miriam Levitt-Flisser and Library Teen Advisory Board member Jamie Tanzer; our photographers Jake Brodsky and Sofia Fabiancic; our tech crew including Steve Bogardus, Dave Berry, Jeff Langsam, and Sivan and Rohan Mehta; and our many “worker bees” who helped out during the evening.
And we are BEEdazzled by our incredible committee: Liz Blagg, Christine Bensche, Ellen Brodsky, Mona Longman and Carolyn Mehta.
Renu Lalwani and Sara Werder, Spelling Bee Co-Chairs