Bank takes home trophy for Spelling Bee

PLAINVIEW – It was a heated contest in the final two rounds, but American State Bank outlasted the South Plains College team to become winners of the second Kappa Delta Pi Corporate Spelling Bee held Saturday at Wayland Baptist University.

Held in conjunction with the Plainview Pioneer Palooza, 12 teams joined in the spelling action in the outdoor spelling bee held on the lawn east of Harral Auditorium. Braving bright sunshine, the teams gathered to test their brain power and teamwork as words were thrown at them by announcer Mike Fox of Wells Fargo Bank.

The first round of spelling saw a perfect performance by all teams as the words started out fairly easy. Then things started getting tougher, and teams had a bit more challenging words ahead. Members were able to put their heads together on each word before sending one person to the microphone and the hot seat.

Some teams opted to pass a difficult word – allowable at the corporate bee for a $10 donation – while others trudged on, giving it their best shot. In the end, only ASB and SPC remained, and the rules changed a bit, requiring the winning team to spell the word missed by their opponents as well as a new word.

The teams volleyed for a while as one missed and the other spelled correctly, then misspelled the next word. But finally, ASB came out ahead. Team captain Shayla Whalen, vice president for mortgage lending, said the team was thrilled to win, though they just were glad to be involved.

“We really just did it for fun. I love Wayland and I thought anything we could do to support them would be good,” said Whalen, a 1994 WBU graduate. “Winning wasn’t our first thought going into it. I think it was a lot of fun, and even teams that went out had fun.”

Whalen recruited personal banker Athena Stennett and teller Stacie Green for her teammates, then couldn’t get any other coworkers to come forward, saying, “We were the only three brave souls who would do it.” Husband Darren, a history teacher at Lockney Junior High School, filled out the team, and daughter McKinley, 8, came along for moral support as an “honorary” team member.

Other teams participating represented Area Community Hospice, Cargill Meat Solutions, Covenant Hospital Plainview, First Baptist Church Singles, Harvest Christian Fellowship, PakMail, Plainview Rotary Club, Wells Fargo Bank and Wayland’s Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and President’s Ambassadors.

The event was a fundraiser for education scholarships given by Kappa Delta Pi, a national education honor society, and the Hale County Literacy Council, which offers family literacy programs and one-on-one tutoring for adults learning to read.

The spelling bee followed two hours of inflatable games, musical entertainment by a Lubbock mariachi group, the Austin Heights Church of Christ Spiritual Singers and Miss Wayland 2008 Terra Watson, and snacks. Following the bee, a hamburger cookout dinner was served and a free concert presented by performers from the Cactus Theater in Lubbock. The Palooza was the community birthday party for the university in honor of its 100th birthday.