BOSTON — The lobby of WGBH's Brighton studios filled to capacity last week as staff came out in droves to see their colleagues show off some pretty great speller skills in the first WGBH Spelling Bee.
Organizers of the Bee, searching for top spellers to represent WGBH at the First Literacy 23rd Corporate Spelling Bee in May, were pleasantly surprised at the number of Bee enthusiasts who work among them. A total of 18 teams entered the contest, representing WGBH productions (Frontline's The Bee-Line, American Experience's Could You Use That in a Sentence), broadcast services (Spellenium Falcons from 89.7 WGBH Radio), and business departments (The Libarians from the WGBH Media Library and Archives, The Bees Neese from WGBH's National Marketing team).
Hosting the WGBH Bee was Mike Wood. By day, he's part of the team that promotes such WGBH-produced children's series as Arthur, Curious George, and Martha Speaks. Wood operates his own trivia company, Egghead Team Trivia, by night, and also performs stand-up comedy around the Boston area.
Skye Morrison Kramer, CEO of First Literacy, an organization dedicated to helping more adults develop reading and communication skills, joined WGBH employees in the audience, checking off the words that her staff had provided. Kramer called the First Literacy Corporate Spelling Bee "one of the better kept secrets in Boston": It's the biggest fundraiser her organization holds each year, and she hopes to expand its reach and surpass their $300,000 goal this year.
During the WGBH Bee, teams fell to tough words: yapok, hyssop, bowdlerize. In the end, the trophy went to the Foundation De-SPELL-opment team—Christian Gay, Linda Harrar, and Jesse Hergert, all from WGBH's Foundation Development group—with the word contumelious, but thankfully they did not "behave in a scornful or insulting manner" toward their competitors.
The winning team now goes on to represent WGBH in the First Literacy Bee on May 3rd in downtown Boston. They will face tough challengers from Houghton Mifflin, The Cabot Corporation, newcomers The United Way, and others, but their ultimate goal is to capture the title from last year's winners, Eaton Vance Investment Managers.
See more photos from the event:
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About the AuthorAnnie Shreffler
Annie Shreffler is a digital features producer, writer and photographer for WGBH.org. She obtained an M.A. in Journalism from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and kicked off her second career as a digital projects producer for The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC New York Public Radio.