I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
to catch up.
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Inside scoop on spelling bee: It's 'legerdemain'
By Barry Schrader.................................October
Lastly, this old editor got his basic language training
during two years of Latin under the tutelage of Mrs. Gladys Wibking,
my Genoa-Kingston High School Latin and English teacher. Latin
was the only foreign language offered in our school district,
but dont ever call it the dead language, as
it has helped me define and spell words all my life.
How can you beat 246 years of combined spelling experience,
especially when two of the spellers are lifelong teachers?
Well, the DeKalb County Spelling Bee results from
last Thursday night prove you just cant top those odds.
Then toss in an old newspaper editor who won his first school
spelling bee in sixth grade at Genoa Junior High, and the odds
are even greater.
Our championship team from Oak
Crest totaled three residents.
does New York Times crossword puzzles for fun and still speaks
some French, a big help in the final round of the contest. She
has taught at DeKalb High School and NIU.
there is Rose Marie King who taught at the high school level,
plus Gulf Port College and the University of Wisconsin. She tells
me she had four years of Latin and minored in French as well.
Our Oak Crest spelling team, from left Harriett Kallich,
Barry Schrader and Rose Marie King, totals 246 years of spelling
had stiff competition among the 17 teams in this years
bee. The final round pitted us against the Hearing Help Express
team of Karen Bozovsky, Georgelen Kuhn and Tiffany Roos.
They sailed through some very difficult words. When
they stumbled on legerdemain which comes from the
French language and means sleight of hand, our Harriett
Kallich spelled it correctly. (I must admit I didnt have
a clue how to spell it.) So the crowd applauded and we thought
we had won.
Then emcee Jerry Smith was reminded
of the rules and found we had to spell one more word successfully
to claim the trophy. As the official pronouncer Clark Neher turned
to his spelling list to find the next word, I broke out in a
cold sweat. If we didnt spell this one correctly the other
team would be back in the race and we would have to stay up past
10 p.m. By a stroke of luck the next word was dementia
which gave us Oak Cresters a good laugh as we chide each other
about that every time we forget to remember something.
Harriett pondered offering Clark some French pronunciation lessons
before next year, but decided against it. During an earlier round
his pronunciation of the French-based word concierge
confounded the spellers until one of the official judges DeKalb
Circuit Clerk Maureen Josh suggested a different phonetic version.
Clark had a thankless job and handled it with aplomb, having
filled this position in prior years. The other official judge
Sycamore Schools Supt. Wayne Riesen and timekeeper, Daily Chronicle
Editor Kristen Schmidt, also performed their duties commendably.
The Altrusa Club has hosted this literacy fundraiser
along with the Chronicle and DeKalb County Community Foundation
for 10 years and seems to have it finely tuned. When you consider
they rounded up 17 teams with some 51 people and collected a
number of drawing prizes, it was a definite success again this
year. Emcee Jerry reported they had raised a total of $80,000
over the years and thats not chicken feed.
it was past our bedtime at Oak Crest our team decided to head
right home and not celebrate with warm milk and graham crackers
until later. We had won ourselves a pizza party at Pizza Villa
and visions of anchovies and pepperoni danced in my head all
night! But I awoke with a start as I had dreamed I couldnt
remember whether pepperoni is spelled with one n
or two ...
POSTSCRIPT: I was careless in my reporting last week about
there being only one locally-owned bank left in the county. It
turns out there are more than one still controlled by a majority
of stockholders residing within DeKalb County. I apologize for
the error. Thanks to the readers who caught the mistake including
Jeff Strack, Ron Klein, Larry Forsberg and Dewey Yaeger. Its
good to know somebody reads the column!
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115