The ‘Beest’ around: 12th annual spelling bee crowns new champions

May 15, 2024

The word evapotranspiration, not evaportransporation, won the 12th annual Dartmouth Education Foundation Spelling Bee at Dartmouth High School on Tuesday, May 14.

The winning team, “The Beests,” which consisted of Karen Quigley, Victor Mailey and Damon May said the win was “surprising” and that it “feels good.”

“I think we had a good balance,” said Quigley, noting that she and May are “readers” and that Mailey is a doctor.

May added that with a “certain number of years on the planet, things start to rub off.”

The teams “Bee Cubed” and “Automated Spelling System” took second and third place, respectively.

But the real winner was p-h-i-l-a-n-t-h-r-o-p-y, a word that didn’t stump any spellers during the bee.

The annual spelling bee is the sole fundraiser for the Dartmouth Education Foundation, explained foundation co-chairs Stephen Witzig and Jauna Souza.

The foundation runs a teacher grant program that supplements “innovative materials” for Dartmouth classrooms that “are outside the budget they have from the district.”

“All of the money donated goes completely toward the teacher grant program,” said Witzig.

Witzig and Souza explained that the grant program has funded equipment for the school’s television studio, 3D Printers, Chromebooks and adaptive reading materials for special education teachers.

This year’s spelling bee raised about $13,000, said foundation treasurer Michael Mattos.

The spelling bee “is a really nice cross section of the school district,” said Witzig.

Souza explained that competitors range from school district administrators, to elementary school teachers to high school students and Dartmouth residents.

Witzig was also the announcer for the spelling bee.

While many words – like nunatak, meaning a hill or mountain that has been completely encircled by a glacier – stumped spellers at Tuesday’s bee, they were lucky that Witzig didn’t pull out his own favorite word, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.