In an annual competition often dominated by educators, three teams representing Kinston businesses took top honors last week in the Adult Spelling Bee sponsored by the Lenoir County Education Foundation. In the end, though, schools and teachers still won big.
The team from Judy Jones State Farm won the first-place trophy and the $300 award at the Thursday event, one of the Education Foundation fundraisers that provide mini-grants for LCPS teachers. Second place and $200 went to the team from Kinston Realty Group; and third place and $100, to the online news publication, Neuse News.
Spelling for the winning team were the Joneses – Judy, Jeremy, Jonathan and Robin.
The bee put another $6,000 in Education Foundation coffers, raising expectations that total 2018 mini-grant awards to teachers could set a record, eclipsing the previous high of $15,500 dispensed in 2017.
In addition school and teachers benefitted from the winners’ largesse. All three donated their cash awards to schools – the Judy Jones team to North Lenoir High School and Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School and both the Kinston Realty and Neuse News teams to Northwest Elementary.
Thirty teams began the spelling bee and by the time the third, and most difficult, round began, only eight teams remained – this despite a rule unique to the Adult Spelling Bee that allows teams to buy their way out of a spelling error with a $20 contribution to the Education Foundation.
When that rule expired 20 minutes into the third round, the attrition rate increased. The Neuse News team claimed third place on the basis of fewest buy-words used after tying with several other teams that missed the same third-round word.
The word that separated first place from second place was duumvirate, which means a coalition of two people holding the same office. It was the 24th word called in the spelling bee.
Spelling for Kinston Realty Group were Jess Edwards, Pat Jones, Snow Jones and Peggy Afarian. The Neuse News team was Bryan Hanks, Barbara LaRoque, Catherine Hardee and Junious Smith.
The Spellebrities, the team from Kinston High School, won the spirit award. Team members were Johnny Lewis, Tamara Brown, Joshua Bridges and Catherine Seitzer.
Event sponsors were Chick-fil-A Kinston, Kinston Community Center, Sale Auto Mall, Dunn & Dalton Architets, Woodmen Life / Kinston NC Chapter 46, The Free Press and CopyPro.