In the b-t-s vein, this weekend was the WITF Spelling Bee weekend. This regional installment of the national Scripps National Spelling Bee had been sponsored by The Patriot-News for many decades; we were honored by the Patriot’s trust in WITF when they asked us to take it over last year. The Bee is a milestone in the school year for dozens of schools in a 9-county area—each year, schools run local bees to select winners who then compete in a two-part regional bee (a written test for about 130 students, fifth through 8th graders). Thirty finalists then compete in a verbal test—a “spelldown” in bee-ese.
WITF’s special contribution to this long-running effort is our ability to produce the spelldown for television—just as the national Scripps Bee will be televised in June on ESPN. The 2010 WITF Spelling Bee airs Sunday, 28 February at 5:30 pm, Wednesday, March 3rd at 7 pm, and (for in-school viewing) Friday, March 5th at 1 pm.
Let’s just say that this whole Bee-thing has brought out the not-so-inner geek in every WITF-er. We had staff members jostling to join the long-established Advisory Board, or to do just about anything (appeals meister? Comfort room staffer?) that needed to be done. I can’t explain how mesmerizing the Bee can be—staffers who usually talk about their weekends spent with TV sports were glimpsed visiting the control room, watching intently as words such as “bellicose” and “schadenfreude” were pronounced, defined and spelt. You can see photos from the production here.
Welcome to the world of WITF, and we look forward to your questions, views and comments.
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