KENNEBUNK – On a recent evening, the gym at Kennebunk Elementary School was all abuzz with the Education Foundation of the Kennebunks and Arundel’s Spelling Bee, back for the first time since 2014.

“The competition”, according to a May 3 news release, “was multifarious with past participants and newcomers bringing their ABC game. Nine teams of three swarmed together in this fun, fast-paced Friendraiser. three teams went head-to-head at a time to out-spell each other. When a team missed a word, they were out. If all teams got the word incorrect, then a new word was given. The last team standing in the swarm went on to compete against the other two teams. The Bee Master was Dan “The Word Man” Nelson and the judge was Rhonda Hebert.”

The Education Foundation of the Kennebunks and Arundel Spelling Bee was held for the first time since 2014. Courtesy photo

The first swarm was made up of The Swifties, The Wanna Bees, and The H. Bee’s. The Swifties, sponsored by Ira Camp and matched by Mascoma Bank MLO, had to shake it off after missing a word. The H. Bee’s, sponsored by H.B. Provisions, brought the Big Stinger, Coach Bonnie. However, even the threat of the Big Stinger was not enough for this seasoned Spelling Bee team to win the swarm. Downing Real Estate’s Wanna Bees procured that title. Nancy Downing may have been their decisive resource as she has seen a past Foundation Spelling Bee or two.

The next swarm ushered in the Word Nerds from Kennebunk Free Library sponsored by ProKeys ME, McGarry Law Offices’ team Beatles, and the Sea Road School Teachers sponsored by the McEwen Family. These three teams were thoroughly engaging to watch as the Word Nerds eventually scooped the honey from the other two. Kennebunk Free Library is no stranger to this competition and somewhere among the tomes there is a big trophy from a Bee past.

The third swarm was fast and furious with Tourist and Town’s Hot Off The Press finding themselves back expeditiously in their seats and prepping for next year. The Laudholm Ladies, sponsored by Peg Nelson, charged out of their hive to come up against a team that are Foundation Bee veterans, Teguis Orthodontics’ own Bee Smilin’. This could have been scary for the Bee Master as he launched words between the team that takes care of his daughters’ teeth and the team containing his mother and her dear friends. Bee Smilin’ survived to make it to the final swarm.

In the end, Corey Teguis, his wife Jackie, and teammate Christina Manning, picked up the big trophy which can be seen displayed at Teguis Othodontics. All teams received smaller trophies and priceless memories. Peg is still speaking to Dan.


The foundation’s Spelling Bee Committee extends a special thank you to the sponsors of the event. Our Royal Beehive Sponsor is Kennebunk Savings Bank. Our Honey Bee Sponsor is White & Quinlan. Finally, our Busy Bee Sponsor is Holmes Legal Group. Sponsorships, donations, and volunteers are what keep our nonprofit going.

Providing grants to RSU21 is something the Education Foundation of the Kennebunks and Arundel has been doing for 16 years. An example of a grant in action was presented at the Spelling Bee. Middle School of the Kennebunks science teacher Nick Costello brought a group of students to showcase the eVscope 2 telescope by Unistellar. The smart telescope allows students to study space in the classroom on their phones or tablets with the use of an app. They can even control the field of view from their device. The students could become citizen scientists, contributing to discoveries of exoplanets.

“It would give them a perspective of where they are in space time, which would endlessly inspire their imaginations and creativity,” said Costello.

The grant is initially for Grades 6 and 7 at MSK to focus on astronomy, first with a look at our own solar system, then at the universe and physical laws that exist. Eventually, Costello hopes that community members can be trained in the use of the telescope and be allowed to bring it to different locations for the students.

Sparking creativity and imagination have been the goal of the the foundation since its inception. For more information, visit or [email protected]

Compiled by Education Foundation of the Kennebunks and Arundel.

filed under: