Santa Paula Times spells “Aristocracy,” takes Spelling Bee

May 17, 2002
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThere was no “honeybee” at the 13th Annual Santa Paula Times Executive Spelling Bee for Literacy, but there was a special Bee, a little honey who wielded the hammer to strike out the unsuccessful spellers: and, by the evening’s end, the Santa Paula Times team emerged triumphant.Special Spelling Bee stress kits had been laid out for each team from the Santa Paula Elementary School District, Mendez Concrete Co., Kiwanis Key Club, Weyerhaeuser Paper Co. and the Santa Paula Rotary Club.Before the Bee a silent auction and Cake Walk were held while official “Bee” Marlen Zamora buzzed around United Methodist Church’s Wesley Hall as supporters of FLAIR, the family literacy program, filled the room. Noted harpist and artist Xavier Montes played a soothing medley of music before the Bee took off.Don Johnson was Master of Ceremonies; he was introduced by Literary Services Coordinator Kathryn Bornhauser who noted that two former FLAIR leaders, Jeanne San Carlo and Elaine Hunt, were in the audience cheering on the spellers.Johnson went over the rules and procedures of the Bee, noting that words found just too hard for the spellers could be sold for $10 and warning audience members that spellers have great ears and sharp eyes, so even whispers or lip movements could be picked up.Pronouncer Scott Rushing and judges Maricela Favela, Martin Hernandez and Ed Mount were at the ready when the Bee began, but the Mendez Concrete Co., perhaps due to first time Bee jitters, went out on “honeybee.” But for team members Carlos Mendez, Maria Elena Mendez and A.J. Andersen the pressure was off.
The Weyerhaeuser Paper Co. team - Kathy Asolas, Mary Babcock and Dave Dombrowski - were the next to fall, finding “floriferous” spelling Bee doom, although they have won the coveted trophy in the past.Kiwanis Key Club members Nick Espinoza, Gloria De Leon and Edwards Robles were the third team out with the word “derailleur” that most still can’t spell and don’t even want to know the meaning of.The hopes of the Santa Paula Elementary School District team - Robin Guthrie, Louise Franco and Louise Platt - were smashed to “smithereens” and it was back to school for the fourth group gonged by the Bee.The Rotary Club Team of Barbara Beach, Jerry Cruz and Elias Valdes, were assured of a win, but it was “condescension” that made them the second place team.Ultimately, Santa Paula Times team members Peggy Kelly, Marianne Ratcliff and Suzi Skutley - who successfully spelled “condescension” without seeming condescending, were handed the last word, and became the “aristocracy” of the 13th Annual Santa Paula Times Spelling Bee for Literacy champions.

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