New champion crowned in education foundation spelling bee

By Douglas McCulloch | Nov 02, 2017
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch The Wanna Bees team receives a trophy.

Absorbefacient might be an obscure word used only by medical professionals, but for the Wanna Bees, it brought the team the first place trophy at the Dartmouth Education Foundation’s annual spelling bee.

The team - made up of mother-son duo Smita and Aditya Bala, and friend Heidi O'Donnell Eastman - won the bee by correctly spelling the word, which means “causing or promoting absorption.” It’s the first win for the team.

“We’ve come in second place the past two years,” Smida said, naming the Foreign Language Lovers, made up of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth language professors, as the team they have lost to in the past.

This year, however, the team was eliminated earlier in the competition. Each of the 35 teams, with members ranging from school principals to students, faced off in five “flights.” The winners of each flight then faced off in a championship round. The round only needed to go for two words before the Wanna Bees emerged as the winner.

Shannon Jenkins helped select words used in the bee. Although not an expert speller herself, she kept an ear out throughout the year for interesting words and added them to a spreadsheet, and also did research to find tough words.

The annual event - now in its seventh year - is organized by the Dartmouth Education Foundation, and serves as a fundraiser for the non-profit’s teacher’s grant program. The program allows Dartmouth school teachers to apply for funding for projects or new items for their classrooms.

In past years, the organization bought a laser engraver for the high school engineering class, new books, and has supplemented new technology the school district purchased.

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