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LECANTO — Lecanto Primary School’s cafeteria atmosphere resembled a screaming pep rally Tuesday as approximately 100 supporters from various schools congregated to cheer on their teams.
What could not be mistaken was the overall school pride that was evident as supporters rooted for the four competing teachers who represented their individual schools at the Central Citrus Rotary 2013 Citrus Spell-A-Rama championship.
Spelling words like fricassee, pharmaceutical and kaleidoscope may have seemed effortless to some observers, but contestants from Crystal River Primary, Floral City Elementary and Citrus Springs Elementary schools would utter comments to the contrary as they prepared in advance.
“They reviewed the national spelling list online and gathered together to review as a team,” said Citrus Springs Elementary Principal Scott Hebert about the winning team’s secret to success.
Three judges examined the answers written on a dry-erase board and acknowledged whether the spelling was correct or if the team was given a strike. Each team was allowed two strikes before being eliminated from the competition.
However schools didn’t go down silently as competitors interjected a little friendly smack talk.
“Bear cubs love to eat frogs and hawks,” joked Crystal River Primary School Principal Donnie Brown.
Friendly competition was the name of the game. However, Hebert believed it created community excitement.
“This creates a sense of family, community and excitement,” he said. “It is just a great opportunity for all of the schools to get together for a friendly competition. It’s a lot of fun with a lot of support.”
Prior to the competition, Floral City Elementary Bullfrogs, Citrus Springs Elementary Hawks and Crystal River Primary Bear Cubs collected sponsorships for their competition for “lifelines” — ask a friend, 30 seconds with a smartphone and passing the word to another team. Fifty percent of the donations collected were donated to the Rotary Club of Central Citrus Charitable Foundation. Each school received $382.52, which equaled 20 percent. The remaining 30 percent was given to the winning school, Citrus Springs Elementary.
Contact Chronicle reporter Eryn Worthington at 352-563-5660, ext. 1334, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* First place: Citrus Springs Elementary Hawks.
* Second place: Crystal River Primary Bear Cubs.
* Third place: Floral City Elementary Bullfrogs.