Wise vOWLs are whooo spelled the best

Apr 12, 2023

C-o-n-n-o-i-s-s-e-u-r won the 11th annual Dartmouth Educational Foundation Spelling Bee for The Lloyd Center VOwls on April 12.

The VOwls, representing the environmental center, were overjoyed with the win, beating out 23 other teams. The victory feels “wonderful, it feels amazing,” said team member Shannon Ewell.

Attendees and other teams in the Dartmouth High School auditorium flinched and laughed at words like “dolichocephalic,” meaning to have a long skull.

The Dartmouth Spelling Bee started as, and continues to be, a fundraiser to provide more grant opportunities to teachers and students in Dartmouth Public Schools, said Chris Pereira, co-chair and co-founder of the Dartmouth Educational Foundation. He estimates that the 2023 bee raised around $13,000.

The Dartmouth Educational Foundation’s goal is to “enrich our Dartmouth school system and help bridge gaps between public school funding,” said Pereira.

Teams show up in a range of punny costumes, such as The Spelling Family, who came dressed as The Addams Family.

“It’s really just about having fun and supporting the [Dartmouth Educational Foundation] because they support us,” said Tricia Weaver, an elementary teacher in Dartmouth on The Spelling Family team.

Other teams had different themes, like The Spell Doctors, who made it to the final round dressed for surgery, but lost on the medical term “arrhythmia.”

Unfortunately for the doctors, the Crafty Spellers, who wore pointed hats and carried wands, cast the right spell to finish in third.

The Hip Bees, who sported tie-dye, grooved all the way to second place.

Teams were allowed no more than three contestants who worked together to conjure up the correct letters. They competed in five heats.

Teams that were not competing in the round played along from their seats to see how they compared, remarking on the complexity of the words and the dreaded silent letters.

Not every team was letter-perfect. But the enthusiasm was unBEElievable.