The LaGrange Academy team was feeling deja vu on Monday when it took the championship for the annual CLCP Spelling Bee for the second year in a row.
To Bee or Not to Bee team members Jack Bagley, Teresa Krizay and Beth Tures narrowly defeated the Mad Scientist team from LaGrange Memorial Library in a spell off, getting three of five words correct.
“I feel great,” said Krizay after the win. “This is two years in a row for Beth and I. … I’m always just excited to not be the first group down.”
Bagley competed on a different team last year, but this is also his second win, having competed on a winning team two years ago.
“I’m glad to help bring it home to the academy,” he said.
The team was one of four left when another team passed it the word staphylococci – teams gets at least one pass to give an assigned word to another team, which that team has to answer – but the Academy members spelled it to the awe of the crowd. They then successfully spelled their assigned word, kamikaze.
After the Twin Cedars team failed to spell soubrette, the Academy team knocked out the Word Nerdz of West Georgia Health by passing them the word vivisepulture, putting the Academy team into the spell off and securing its win.
The annual spelling bee, in its 16th year, was held by the Troup County Certified Literate Community Program and hosted by West Georgia Tech in the Callaway Conference Center.
Carol Cain marked her 15th year as the “Bee Bouncer,” comically ushering the losing teams off stage. This year, she drew on the American Film Institute’s 100 top movie quotes as her inspirations with comic twists on movies like “A Few Good Men” with “You want the truth? You want the truth? You can’t spell!” and “A League of their Own” with “There’s no crying in spelling!”
Jack Morman hosted, returning as “emBee,” and Renae Willis was pronouncer for the evening.
Proceeds from the event go toward GED scholarships in the community. Debbie Burdette, executive director of Troup CLCP, told the attendees at Monday’s event that there are many programs in place now because of the contributions made from programs like the spelling bee.
“We’re so glad that because of events like this we are able to offer scholarships like this one” for the GED program, she said.
One of the students who recently obtained his GED through the program and received a scholarship told the group that he was “a little rusty” when he started classes, since it had been 10 years since he was in school. Through hard work and the support of the GED program, he was able to achieve a scholarship, take the tests and pass on his first attempt. This is allowing him a second chance at his education, which he admitted he didn’t take seriously when he first was in school, and encouraged young attendees to take their current education seriously.
After the spelling bee, Burdette said she felt the event went great, with more people attending this year than last.
“We can always take more,” she said.
She thanked the CLCP board, organizers, all those who have supported the event, like the teams and sponsors. Winning team LaGrange Academy was sponsored by Batson Cook. Other teams participating this year were West Georgia Technical College, West Georgia Health, Twin Cedars, Troup County Medical Society, LaGrange College sponsored by Smith Design Group, Kelsey Advertising & Design, LaGrange Memorial Library sponsored by JSL Sustainers, Troup High School sponsored by Jindal Films, Emory Clark Holder Clinic, CharterBank and LaGrange High School sponsored by CB&T.