Martha’s Vineyard spelling champs compete Friday

Ralph Stewart

Seven top spellers from the five Island elementary schools, the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, and the home school community will compete Friday, March 22, in the Vineyard’s 22nd Regional Spelling Bee, sponsored by The Martha’s Vineyard Times.

The bee starts at 9:30 am in the Performing Art Center at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

The Island spellers are: Simone Vega from the Charter School, Dash Christy from Chilmark, Alexis Condon from Edgartown, Harrison Dorr from Oak Bluffs, James (Jimmy) Perez from Tisbury, and Nic Andre from West Tisbury. Savanna Aiello represents the home school community.

Jean Holenko of the Oak Bluffs School is the bee coordinator. Times proofreader Whit Griswold is the pronouncer. Judges are James Weiss, superintendent of Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, and Times reporter Janet Hefler.

Friday’s winner, sponsored by The Times, which underwrites the cost, will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The event will be held during Bee Week, May 26 through May 31, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland, along the shores of the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. The championship finals take place from 8 to 10 pm, Thursday, May 30. They will be broadcast on ESPN.

The Sponsor Beehive, a biweekly newsletter for Scripps National Spelling Bee sponsors, highlighted The Times as a longstanding supporter in its March 19 issue.

“Doug Cabral, publisher and editor, still remembers the day that local librarian Patricia Carlet walked into his office and asked him to sponsor the spelling bee program,” the newsletter notes.

“The Martha’s Vineyard Times is strictly a community newspaper,” Mr. Cabral told the Sponsor Beehive. “If an issue is important to the community, it’s important to us.”

“With twenty-one years of participation,” the Sponsor Beehive concluded, “it’s clear that the spelling bee program is still important to this community.”