WEHS team ready for spelling bee

Shaun Smith, Marilyn Mitchell and Christal Raley – under the coaching of Melanie Keeling – may be the team to beat at Tuesday’s Spell-a-Bration. Mitchell is a Spanish teacher, Keeling and Raley are language arts teachers and Smith is the English as a second language teacher for Warren East High School.

“We all have a strong background with words,” Smith said.

The team, deemed the “Warren East Bee Squad,” have been practicing for the last month, gearing up to face the other 23 teams set to participate in the 2008 Spell-a-Bration fundraiser for Community Education. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus Hall with the spelling bee set to start at 7 p.m. Admission is $5.

“Practice has been anywhere we can get it and any time we can get it,” Smith said. “We practice with our students, who have been very supportive and excited about seeing their teachers compete in something fun like this.”

The event is sponsored by Hills Pet Nutrition. This year’s more than 20 teams is the most ever, said Debi Wade Jordan, executive director of Community Education, topping the 18 teams that participated last year.

“So that should make it interesting,” she said.

Prizes will be given out for the best outfits and most team spirit, said Ann Grubbs, enrichment and volunteer coordinator for Community Education.

Each year, spectators and participants look forward to a unique entrance, but that remains secret until it happens, Jordan said. Grubbs – giving a teaser – said, “we owe a huge debt to Hills, which has something to do with how the words come in.”

Spectators will also get to sample appetizers donated from 17 area restaurants, including Brickyard and Jimmy John’s, and desserts provided by the Warren County Food and Nutrition Association. The deserts are part of a contest judged by the Women’s Club, Jordan said.

A silent auction will include items ranging from dental work to golf fees.

The spelling bee is a key fundraiser for Community Education, Jordan said in a previous interview.

“We do learning from cradle to grave,” she said. “We provide programming for children as well as adults.”

Functions like the spelling bee help offset program costs, she said.

The idea for the spelling bee, Jordan said, came from a small item in the Daily News about another adult spelling bee.

“Everything has been taken,” she said regarding fundraisers. “We wanted to do something that connected with our educational mission … and felt this was a perfect match.”

“This is unique for Bowling Green,” Grubbs said.

Smith’s idea for Warren East High’s team came from watching the movie “Akeelah and the Bee” with his class. He said the students seemed interested and excited about words and spelling.

“Of course, the next day, I caught a blurb about the Spell-a-Bration on the morning news and the light bulb went off in my head,” Smith said.

Getting ready for the event is a lot like getting ready for any competition. He said the team is looking forward to the event.

“We want to make sure we are practicing enough to do a good job, but don’t want to lose sight of the fun,” Smith said. “Having support from the Warren East community in general has been the best thing.”

Hoping this will be the start of annual participation, Smith said his goal has been to motivate students.

“I foresee a future where we have a school full of coaches. Just like Akeelah had a coach in every person in her neighborhood when she was studying for her bee,” Smith said. “Hopefully, we can make a good showing and show people that when it comes to spelling, Warren East teachers have things under control.”


Jordan, Natalie (2008, February). WEHS team ready for spelling bee. Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.bgdailynews.com/news/wehs-team-ready-for-spelling-bee/article_43ff7853-3a23-5f7f-bd68-6eee40584f7c.html