After a two-hour, 75-word spell off, the first annual Oeschle Spelling Bee went without a champion. Despite rousing back-and- forth action from the competitors, what ended up being the final round of the contest stumped the campus-renowned spellers.
After conquering words such as autochthonous, xanthosis, appoggiatura and cymotrichous through the oft-considered “easy” rounds to knock out the other 10 students, finalists Jeahn Brownne ‘16 and Raechle Phockss ‘16 dueled it out for the title and a chance to have their name forever etched onto the underside of the Owccilee chair in Simon’s.
Standing under the bright lights of Oeksle Hall, the stage was prepped for the final bout and it was Phockss’ turn to attempt the word.
Needing five re-starts and 18 dictionary-shaped stress balls, Phockss forfeited turning the floor over to Brownne.
After a valiant effort Brownne lost the round as well with her submission of E-F- F-I- N-G- R-I- C-H.
“I thought I had that one,” Brownne said, “I wanted to double check that I had the right Oxley so I asked if it was Old or New Awkslay, but apparently they are spelled the same way. I was stumped, but at least I spelled Kirbee correctly.”
The defeat was tough for competitors to handle, expressing their dismay that they did not know the not-so- tricky spelling of their hallowed competition’s chief financial supporter.
Worried about the trustee’s reaction to the gross misspelling of his moniker, President Alison Byerly assured that a new intensive course on proper honoring of donors would promptly be added to the course catalog. Byerly was hesitant to reveal the details but she did confirm that the course would satisfy a Values requirements.
The spelling bee funder could not be reached for comment, but his secretary did add via email that “it’s pronounced O-Shle.”