Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


March 28, 2013

Night of fun, fundraising and some darn good spelling

“Subboreal,” which means “very cold, nearly frigid,” was the winning word at the Andover Fund for Education’s 15th Andover Spelling Bee last Friday night. It allowed West Elementary School’s “Spellementary” team to freeze out the other three teams in the finals to become the 2013 champions.

Spellementary team members Kelly Doherty, Tracy Galat, Viji Menon, and Martha Tubinis won the championship round after a lively and light-hearted contest during which they competed against 10 other school teams as well as seven community teams.

The other finalists were the LexicoLeagues, a team of League of Women Voters members; the South Elementary Beastly Spellers; and the West Middle School “Westwords” team, also referred to in the program as the Spell Raisers.

Sanborn Elementary School was awarded the Spirit Trophy, given to the school supported by the most enthusiastic fans. Another West Elementary School team, “The Sting,” won the trophy for Best Team Costume.

A popular annual fundraiser, the AFE Bee offers local schools and community organizations an opportunity to support educational innovation in the Andover Public Schools by entering teams of four adult spellers. Many local students come to watch the competition and cheer loudly for favorite teachers. Before the championship round, elementary school teams march around the auditorium in a freewheeling and exuberant “Spirit Parade.”

Live music was provided by Left Hand Blue, a local rock band featuring former Andover High students Matt Minigell and Carissa Johnson and current AHS student Sean Duggan.

All proceeds from the Spelling Bee fund AFE’s innovation mini-grants to Andover Public School educators who propose creative classroom projects designed to reinforce and supplement the core curriculum. Examples of AFE grants awarded during the 2012-2013 school year include a hands-on electricity project for engineering students at Andover High School, and a sport stacking cups for students at Shawsheen Elementary and South Elementary.

Students involved in the stacking cups activity showed how quickly they can make and dismantle their towers of cups for the crowd, in between rounds.

For additional information about the bee,or about AFE’s grants and its“Honor a Teacher” initiative, visit the AFE website:

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