09/15/06 — Crew from The Pines spell c-h-a-m-p-s

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Crew from The Pines spell c-h-a-m-p-s

By Renee Carey
Published in News on September 15, 2006 1:50 PM

It was a rematch of alphabetic proportion when the Spell's Angels and the Bee-tles met Thursday night at Walnut Creek Country Club for the annual Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and Wayne Charitable Partnership's annual Corporate Spelling Bee.

St. Mary's Catholic School and The Pines of Goldsboro had been here before. They were the final two at last year's event, which raises money for teacher mini-grants to provide additional learning resources and experiences for Wayne County students.

The teams' first clash ended in a nail-biting slew of medical terms that took both teams down to their last dollar -- and their last scribbled, crossed-out and agonized-over word.

In the end, lucky spelling and last-minute money-raising earned St. Mary's the victory.

But not this year.

Georgia Dees and her team from The Pines came prepared to bring home the trophy as the county's best spelling bee team. Complete with Beatles-themed decor, a rendition of "Yellow Submarine" and costumes that harkened back to the 1960s, concentration was etched on team members' faces as they spelled when they could and donated their way out of a jam when their skills failed. They also had some legal advisers, too. The Pines partnered with Dees Law Office to get the job done -- and two members of that staff were among the spellers Thursday.

Over at St. Mary's table, the angel theme offered the team members a calming influence -- and, they hoped, a few angelic partners. They had money ready, too, just in case they needed some extra help -- and more than a few clasped hands and upturned eyes asked for some intervention as each word became harder and harder. And a couple times, that faith was all the team needed -- well, that and a pencil with a good eraser.

This year's matchup also went down to the wire -- and the last word -- irrefragable.

Neither team knew how to spell it, but The Pines was ready with the "honey money" in hand. Her team was going to continue until victory was theirs.

And when Trisha Capps, Jenna Sittig, Patti Enloe, Jim Hanson, Armine Smith and Joyce Keller heard the announcement that they were the champions, it took a couple minutes to register.

Then, the cheer went up.

"We wanted it really bad," Mrs. Dees said.

They weren't sure it was going to be their year.

"We were the last ones to set up," she said. "It was a really challenging day at work, and two of our team members were sick."

But then there was the matter of last year's narrow loss -- and the chance to bring home that elusive trophy.

They were there for the rematch, but also for the children, Mrs. Dees said.

The proceeds raised from the bee will be used to fund mini-grants for Wayne County teachers -- a way for them to add more learning experiences and resources to their classrooms to benefit county children. The money also will be used to help fund the chamber's Junior Leadership program.

The children were also why the St. Mary's team, which included Amy Breindel, Pam Hammond, Lisa Bacon, Jeanie Fornecker and Gail Bobrowski, was there Thursday -- and happy to take home second place.

Getting ready for the event wasn't easy, said Mrs. Fornecker, who is a seventh and eighth-grade English teacher.

""I think it's an awesome way to raise money and it keeps us on our toes. Some of the words are really hard," she said. "I am really proud of how far we went in the spelling bee contest. We are happy for the winners."

The third-place team, the Brogden Elementary Barnyard, hung on until the last minute, getting one final reprieve from their sponsor, Cooper-Standard Automotive.

"It's a great cause for the youth leadership program and the grants for the teachers," said Jim Wall, human resources manager for Cooper-Standard. "We believe in supporting our community, and we enjoy being a part of it. A lot of people that live here work for us. and this is a good way that we can give back to the community."

Although not able to save his team from the "killer bee," in the end Cooper-Standard donated $900 to the cause.

Mrs. Dees said she hopes there will be more businesses ready to take on the returning champs next year. This year, The Pines was the only business among the 14 teams signed up to play. The rest came from schools across the county. Teams and their sponsors included:

* Greenwood Middle School T-Birds, sponsored by Best and Sauls Men's Shop, Cunningham Heating and Cooling, Linda Westbrook, The Learning Center, Four Seasons Sports and Howell Funeral Home.

* Charles B. Aycock Phonetic Falcons, sponsored by Academics Plus.

* Brodgen Primary School Barnyard, sponsored by Cooper-Standard Automotive.

* Edgewood Community Developmental Beeagles, sponsored by Shumate-Faulk Funeral Home.

* Eastern Wayne Middle School Buzzing Warriors, sponsored by Wal-Mart.

* Eastern Wayne Elementary School Carolina Pirates EWE style, sponsored by McDonalds and Woodmen of the World.

* Carver Elementary School Tenacious Tigers, sponsored by Mount Olive Pickle Co.

* Norwayne Middle School LexiCons, sponsored by T.A. Loving Co.

* The Pines of Goldsboro Bee-tles, sponsored by Dees, Smith, Powell, Jarrett, Dees and Jones.

* St. Mary's Catholic School Spell's Angels, sponsored by Jackson and Sons Heating and Air-Conditioning.

* Goldsboro Intermediate School Classy Cougars, sponsored by Dillard Alumni and Friends.

* Northeast Elementary School Eagles, sponsored by Screen It.

* Tommy's Road Elementary School's King Arthur and his Court, sponsored by Pizza Inn.

* North Drive Elementary School Cheering Cougar Cubs, sponsored by Jolan's Limousine Service.

Overall sponsors for the event, in addition to the chamber and Wayne Charitable Partnership, included Progress Energy, Mount Olive College, Mount Olive Pickle and Goldsboro Record Printing.

Word sponsors included: A Small Miracle Inc.; Brenda Taylor MED; Brogden Primary School; Carol Artis; Cheryl Allenman, CPA.; Costal Drywall; Cory Bean; Crossroads Support Service Inc.; Dixon Foods; Don Stevens; First African Baptist; Frema Motors; Goldsboro News-Argus; Haithcock, Barfield, Hulse and Kinsey, Hilex Poly; Immediate Care of Goldsboro; and Piedmont Natural Gas.

And in the end, the teams raised $20,122.13 for Wayne County's children.

Dr. Ken Benton of Academics Plus Inc. and the chairman of the chamber's Education Committee said those who participated -- either as a team or word sponsor or by spelling -- made a difference.

"This is a win-win-situation," he said. "Teachers win by getting the chance to win grants through the chamber program. Children win because they are able to get the extra learning opportunities."

And there is another benefit, too, he added.

"It's fun," he said.