Bee is the Buzz in Mattapoisett

In order to earn the title of Town’s Best Orthographer, you had better know how to spell that word and many more. Orthography is the standardization of writing systems, including the rules of spelling, and it will be on serious display April 26 during the Second Annual Mattapoisett Community Spelling Bee at the Old Rochester Regional High School Auditorium.

While the event — postponed from April 5 because of a scheduling conflict — is a spectator sport open to everyone for a $5 per person/$20 per family admission, those brave souls interested in competing must register their three-member teams by April 19. But space is filling up fast.

“We can only have 20 teams, so if we reach 20 teams prior to April 19,  then we will not be accepting more applications,” said organizer Kris Higgins. “Currently, we only have 10 teams, however, we know from last year that teams were finalized closer to the deadline. There has to be an even number of teams by fours, so we potentially may increase the number of teams to 24 if there is a need.”

All proceeds from the popular event will benefit the Mattapoisett PTA.

“We work hard all year fundraising so that we can add to our children’s learning with arts and humanity programs,” Higgins said. “Thanks to [the Mattapoisett PTA’s] Debra Nettles, we have amazing programs such as the Museum of Science Boston Traveling Program with the Star Lab for the sixth-graders and Electromagnetism for K through third graders, and the New England Percussion Ensemble came to both Center and Old Hammondtown. Also, by fundraising, we are able to allow the students to attend field trips at a lesser cost to the families, or in some cases nothing at all. Next week, the first-grade students will be attending ‘Charlotte’s Web’ at the Zeiterion in New Bedford with no cost at all to the families.”

The words for the single-elimination Community Spelling Bee are drawn from the National Spelling Bee. There will be five rounds with 20 teams and six rounds if there are 24, plus a Final Round of high-stakes wordiness until only one team remains. OHS fourth-grade teacher Kevin Tavares will have the all-important job of announcing, while Center School Principal Rose Bowman, OHS Principal Matt D’Andrea, and Center School teacher Jen Aguiar will judge. To keep things light amid heavy competition, Mike Rock from Fun107 will emcee, with music provided from deejay Mike Bowman. There will be raffles, refreshments, face painting and kids’ games, as well.

“It was a great event last year,” Higgins said. “Everyone was excited and talking about their team names, outfits they were going to wear and who would win. We even had some teams studying from the dictionary.”

That’s just the kind of dedication it will take to be climb to the top of the orthography mountain. But time is running out; for registration, admission, and sponsorship info, email or

By Shawn Badgley

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