How do you spell community? B-E-E

Bethlehem Opportunities Unlimited holds event, invites town

— Struggling spellers who may have fantasized about getting even with a demanding English teacher will have their chance at revenge, as educators are set to take on Bethlehem residents in the inaugural Community Spelling Bee.

The event is being sponsored by Bethlehem Opportunities Unlimited, a local nonprofit group that funds youth activities and alcohol and drug prevention education to teens. The spelling bee is meant to be the group’s main fundraiser of the year, and takes the place of the “March Madness” faculty basketball game that is now sponsored by the Bethlehem Central Community Foundation.

“We usually sponsor the basketball classic but we wanted to do something a little different that would not only involve teachers and students, but also the greater community,” said BOU Co-President Jayne Deane-White.

The group decided to move away from the basketball event because many felt the game was getting too competitive. Deane-White said one of the organization’s goals is to promote education, and members wanted to focus on an event that would intellectually challenge participants.

Deane-White said a fellow board member suggested a spelling bee after a member of her family successfully ran a similar event as a fundraiser in Connecticut. So far, 14 groups have registered to participate in the bee. BC teachers and administrative staff at all levels have signed on, as have employees from local businesses like Price Chopper and Kinderhook Bank and members of town government.

All participants are asked to work in teams of three to five members, and are encouraged to wear matching uniforms. At the bee, each team captain will be deemed the designated speller, but team members will be allowed to give their advice. The words are to be written out on a large white board, and each team will have 60 seconds after the second pronunciation of the word to spell it correctly.

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