Team Second Chance may have been the runner up in last year's Adult Spelling Bee, but they wouldn't go home without the trophy Friday night.
The adult spelling bee, held Friday at Miss Porter's Hacker Theater, was hosted by the Farmington Public Schools Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports innovation in the town's schools through grants. As such, the spelling bee, the foundation's major fundraiser, was attended by teachers, administrators, parents and spelling aficionados.
The Second Chance team fell into the third category and was made up of Jay Bombara, Janet Lawler and Alan Sherman.
Other teams were fielded by the Farmington Board of Education, Rotary Club, school PTOs, teachers and sponsors. Town Council Chairman Jeff Hogan, Board of Education Chairman Mary Grace Reed and West Woods Upper Elementary School Principal Alicia Bowman served as judges and Gallery Salon owner Gino Moncada as master of ceremonies.
The bee was divided into "swarms" when several teams would compete against each other. Winners of each swarm were the Bees of the Board of Education, West Woodsmen, Second Chance, Spelling Beeatches and Raiders of Noah's Arc.
Though team names and antics were at times silly, the mission behind the foundation has had a serious impact in launching innovative learning opportunities in Farmington classrooms.
"Each one of you is here tonight because you care about someone who is touched by the Farmington Public Schools," said Foundation Chairman Meghan Guerrera at the opening of the bee. "We believe in what we do and we care about children's future, giving them the opportunity to be successful."
Superintendent Kathleen Greider followed Guerrera and praised the work the foundation has done since the organization's renewal a year ago.
"The foundation has done a great deal in its first year... and I know it will continue to be a leader, not only in the region, but on a national level," Greider said.
In 2012-13, grants were awarded to fund the following projects:
Farmington River Environmentalists: Third grade students at Union School will explore the health of the Farmington River and raise trout for release in conjunction with Farmington Alternative High School students. Grant submitted by: Paige Dominov (Union School)
Noah Wallace School E-Newspaper:All Noah Wallace students will participate in the production of an online newspaper that includes articles, pictures and videos. Grant submitted by: Maureen Gilroy (Noah Wallace School)
Archaeological Field School:FHS Anthropology students will participate in archeological digs at Stanley-Whitman House using state -of-the-art software to analyze and curate artifacts. Grant submitted by: Joel Nicks and Jeremy Pilver (Farmington High School)
Bench Mark Beautification Community Service Project: Farmington Alternative High School students will receive mentoring and business development planning instruction to develop their bench-building program into a self-sustaining business. Grant submitted by: Michelle Kinsella (Farmington Alternative High School)
To learn more about the Farmington Public Schools Foundation, visit http://www.fpsfoundation.org.