The St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office team finished fifth among 19 teams at this year’s 17th Annual Rotary Club Corporate Spelling Bee held Feb. 16 in the Chalmette High School cafeteria, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
The Sheriff’s Office team, comprised of Maj. David DiMaggio, director of training, Capt. Dennis Morgan, of the Juvenile Detention Center, and Kim Gritter, public information officer, managed to stay in the game for six rounds, but were eventually taken out when they struggled to spell the word balalaika, a Russian stringed musical instrument.
A team from Valero Refinery, comprised of Zach Fridge, Doug Frueh and Stacy Favalora, took home bragging rights as this year’s best spellers and first place winners. Second place went to Kai Lawrence, Kevin Nguyen and John Mark Trahan, a group of Chalmette High School students filling in for the St. Bernard Retired Teachers Association team. The St. Bernard School Board’s administration team, Angela Seibert, David Fernandez and Lee Anne Harlton, took home third place honors.
Each year, for $300, teams of three people from local businesses, organizations and public offices are invited by the Rotary Club to participate in a fun competition and help raise money for a worthy cause. Refreshments are sold, and there are raffles and door prizes. Proceeds from the event are used by the Rotary Club to promote community literacy programs and to provide area third-graders with their own dictionaries.