The University of Central Arkansas English Department was awarded the traveling trophy on Tuesday at the Faulkner County Literacy Council’s fifth annual Bee for Literacy.
"Gnathic" (of or pertaining to the jaw) was the winning word, which the English Department’s team successfully spelled after several rounds facing off with the second-place team, Faulkner County Retired Teachers. Members of the winning team included Dr. Jay Ruud, Dr. Jim Fowler and Dr. Jeff Johnson.
Ruud said, "The competition was really stiff. There were three other really incredible teams. We got lucky in that (the Faulkner County Retired Teachers) misspelled all the words we misspelled."
Twelve teams competed in the corporate spelling bee, the literacy council’s major fundraising event. The Log Cabin Democrat team could have used some "risibility" (a disposition to laugh) after that word made it the first team out in the first round. The Little Rock Lotharios were also eliminated in the first round.
"Circuitous" and "silhouette" took out Conway Young professionals and Edward Jones in the second round, and "hecatomb" was the last word for the Conway Kiwanis Club East in the third round.
UCA English Department, Faulkner County Retired Teachers, First Security Bank, Lawyers for Literacy, Centennial Bank, U.S. Bank and THE Book Club went several rounds until "Terpsichore," the Greek muse of dance, made an appearance and eliminated First Security.
"Phrygian" and "Galilean" eliminated Lawyers for Literacy and Centennial Bank about a dozen rounds into the evening.
The long face-off between the UCA English Department and Faulkner County Retired Teachers began when THE Book Club was eliminated about two rounds later.
The crowd cheered on both remaining teams as they spelled words such as "eohippus," "entrechat" and "folletto" before finishing up the contest.
Allison Vetter, president of the literacy council’s board of directors, said a live auction held during the event raised about $2,000. She did not know Tuesday night how much the event raised overall.
"I thought it went really well," Vetter said. "We had some engaging teams. They were competitive. People stayed longer. I was surprised how long it went. It’s getting to the point where people are looking forward to it and studying for it. I think everyone had a good time."
(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1277. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)