Elizabeth Fink, winner of the High School challenge, flanked by Library Director Chris Shoemaker and Mayor Josh Cohn.
Seventh-grader Calvin Holler won the Middle School prize.
The Village Green was filled with young contestants waiting their turn to compete in the Rye library’s Third Annual Spelling
How Do You Spell Pandemic?
On November 11, shortly after the conclusion of the City’s first virtual Veterans Day ceremony, tweens and teens arrived on the Village Green for the Rye Free Reading Room’s Third Annual Spelling Bee. The occasion, while not virtual, was something of a hybrid. It began outdoors but moved inside to the Community Meeting Room when rain fell midway through the event.
Credit goes to the esteemed word readers Mayor Josh Cohn and Library Director Chris Shoemaker for their pronunciation and patience. It was a bit of a challenge to hear the words, their definitions, or the answers with everyone masked and traffic noise coming off Boston Post Road, but the two men prevailed.
After a practice round, the competition began in earnest.
Seventh-grader Calvin Holler won the middle school prize, beating out Katelyn Haines after many suspenseful rounds. Calvin correctly spelled “hustings”.
The winner in the High School division was senior Elizabeth Fink who spelled “pagination” with aplomb.
All through the event, parents and curious onlookers watched from the sideline as students succeeded and struggled. The fortunate few breezed through words like “shindig” and “lummox”. Among the words that stumped the contestants — and likely would have stumped their parents and grandparents — were “nevus” (not the island but a skin lesion), “molluscum” (a viral infection of the skin); “apodal” (without feet), and “quango” (a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization — is this our future?).
The winners will receive trophies and scholarships, which will be awarded at the library’s annual meeting in February. The students’ names will be added to the permanent Spelling Bee trophy that is housed in the main reading room.
Thanks to Carpet Trends for sponsoring the event and to the Rye Free Reading Room for reminding us that words matter.
- Robin Jovanovich