Ten teams participated in the Melita Day Child Development Center’s 13th annual Corporate Spelling Bee on Thursday in the Thompson Center at State Fair Community College, and the competition was out in force.
The teams, and audience, seemed to have a good time with the friendly competition, laughing when difficult words arose, and accepting defeat when the words got a little too tough. Each team had three team members and was sponsored by a local corporation, organization or individual.
“It’s a little different than kids’ spelling bees,” said Melita board member Sally Keating. “Those are more intense. They’re given a word and have to spell it, but here you have three on a team and they can confer with each other and even write it down if they need to.
“It’s a lot easier than a Scripps spelling bee,” she added laughing.
The night raised $3,120, which included team fees, donations, a raffle for a toolbox donated by Waterloo, and the $10 fee for “passes,” which each team could purchase before the event and use one time in the event they were unable to spell a word.
All the money raised will go to the general fund at Melita. The spelling bee is one of two fundraisers throughout the year, along with the cookie walk, that helps with costs at the center. Melita is the only not-for-profit day care center in the area, and it uses sliding scale fees, meaning those families with lower incomes can pay less for Melita’s services.
“We get funding from state-paid day care, the United Way and sliding scale fees, which are based on income,” said Keyna Meives, board president. “These fundraisers help us cover those costs that the other funding doesn’t cover.”
Each team had 30 seconds to spell their given word, and most teams stayed in for several rounds, although they dropped out more quickly as the words got progressively harder. Team Four, “Inter-State Wanna Bees,” sponsored by Inter-State Studios and comprised of Linda Ellis, Meives and Sharon Hejtmanek, won first place. Team 10, “W-K Word Whackers,” sponsored by W-K Chevrolet and comprised of Marianne Duchone, Dick Culver and Phil Twenter, received second place. Team Eight, “Don’t Worry, Bee Happy,” sponsored by Dr. J. Robert Farkas and comprised of Tony Farkas, Karen Farkas and Sarah Keating, placed third. Team Three, “Thrill Spellers,” sponsored by Anne C. Gardner and comprised of Megan Nau, Jessica Lutjen and Elizabeth May, received the Best Costume Award for dressing as the “Melita Express.”
“It went fantastic tonight,” Meives said. “We had lots of new teams, and it was a great success for our day care center. And it’s my favorite fundraiser of the year.”