By Coma News Staff
After nearly 83 hours of competition, officials at the First Annual Coma Hooked On Phonics Spelling Bee decided the competition would end in a tie and awarded first place to 72 young competitors.
I think we underestimated the creative ways in which people could spell words using phonetics,” the event’s Executive Director and Superintendent, John Barry, said. “Short of spelling a word without any vowels, just about every answer was deemed acceptable.”
The contest, which was sponsored by the popular reading program Hooked On Phonics, was designed to promote literacy by emphasizing the way children learn to read by spelling out words phonetically. As part of that effort, contestants were allowed to use phonetic spellings of words for their answers.
A total of 73 contestants entered the event, which went on uninterrupted for almost 83 hours. Only one contestant, Duggar Higgens, was eliminated from the competition amidst controversy after his attempt to spell the word “calisthenics” was deemed incorrect.
ABOVE: Little Duggar Higgens would be the only participant to not win the event after stumbling over the word “calisthenics”
“That was a tough one,” Barry said. “We accepted everything from ‘k-a-l-l-a-s-e-t-i-c-k’ to ‘c-k-e-l-o-s-e-t-t-t-i-q-u-e,’ but that little kid, Buger What’s-his-face, missed the mark by spelling it ‘h-u-j-r-c-a-i-l’. The judges spent nearly 40 minutes discussing before ruling him out of the competition.”
The competition was open to children age eight to twelve and was held at the Coma Community Players Gang-Up Improv and Comedy Sportz Arena last weekend.
ABOVE: Contestant Michael Dunlop is shocked when his spelling of the word “constitute” is accepted by judges. Dunlop spelled the word “K-A-H-N-S-I-T-W-O-O-J-T”, which was deemed an acceptable phonetic spelling of the word, assuming the “J” is silent
“We at Hooked On Phonics were proud to be part of this mag-ni-fa-sent event and are thrilled that so many young spellers showed up to par-tiss-a-pate,” Evelyn Meyers, VP of Public Relations for Hooked On Phonics, said in a press release. “We have always insisted that any child that tries to read or spell is a winner and in this case, that was true, except for little Duggar Higgens.”
Hurley said that while no event has been confirmed for next year, it would be difficult to imagine the event not happening.
“We called it the First Annual, so, that kind of paints us into a corner,” Barry said. “I think we will have to do it again. This time, we may require the kids to actually spell the words correctly. I don’t know how that’s going to go over with the Hooked on Whatever people but this was kind of a disaster.”