The Andover Fund for Education is gearing for its 16th annual Andover Community Spelling Bee set for Friday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at Doherty Middle School on Bartlet Street, a new location for the community event this year.
The fun-filled fundraiser aimed at supporting educational innovation in Andover schools while promoting local businesses, organizations and individual schools always draws an enthusiastic crowd of students, parents, teachers, school administrators, town officials and community groups.
Though some very good spelling does take place, organizers say the fundraiser is not your average bee. They say the event emphasizes entertainment in a casual and family-friendly atmosphere. To keep it that way, the bee is designed to be a team sport rather than an individual competition. There is no solo spelling, so team spellers “sink or swim” together.
Most of the teams arrive in costume, as do many of the audience members who attend to cheer on their favorite competitors. Team supporters are invited to strut their stuff in the freewheeling Spirit Parade just before the final round, and a Spirit Award is presented to the school team supported by the most enthusiastic fans. Judges also award a trophy for Most Creative Team Costume. At the end of the night, prizes are given to the winning team of spellers.
New groups and sponsors are encouraged to become part of the spring tradition. AFE welcomes teams of four adults from all area schools and community groups, as well as donations from sponsors, who can support a round of the bee, place an ad in the program or become an AFE Friend of the Bee.
Admission to the bee itself is free. But all money raised through team fees and sponsorships support AFE’s mini-grants to Andover teachers who propose new and creative classroom projects designed to reinforce and supplement the core curriculum.
Founded in 1991, AFE is a nonprofit organization of local volunteers dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the Andover schools. New members are always welcome.
For more information about the bee and to download a registration form, visit www.andoverfundforeducation.org.