23 February 2024 • Faculty HWS Victorious in 22nd Annual Spelling Bee By Annette Stephens '24

Festinate, meaning to act or move at high speed, was the word to win. With a correct spelling, the HWS team, Bee+, brought home another win in the local spelling bee to benefit literacy.

Under pressure after being introduced as “standing at the zenith of the pantheon of spelling bee gods,” the HWS team, Bee+, worked their way to their 4th straight win in the Literacy Volunteers Ontario-Yates (LVOY) Spelling Bee with the correct spelling of the word, festinate. The event is an annual fundraiser for LVOY, an organization dedicated to supporting adult literacy.

Team Bee+ was comprised again this year of Professor of Art and Architecture Lara Blanchard, Associate Professor of Classics Leah Himmelhoch and Director of Emerson Society Program and Annual Giving Ruth Benedict GP’22. Together, they raised more than $400 for the organization.

Himmelhoch elaborates on the impact of the event. “The Bee supports a wonderful organization, helping people get their high school diploma, driver’s license, citizenship or to improve their job opportunities,” she says.

Blanchard reflects, “through the spelling bee we have to grapple with the difficulties of the English language, which makes us more aware of why we need more outreach on literacy.”

The event was held on Zoom again this year and the team used their tried-and-true method of writing the words on paper and holding them up to the camera to determine the correct spelling, avoiding the interference of autocorrect in texts or the Zoom chat feature.

“We heard on the day that 45 million Americans cannot read, write or do math above a third-grade level. Talk about a need,” says Benedict.