By Rick Banas of assisted living and senior living provider BMA Management, Ltd.
The nine teams of residents from affordable assisted living communities in northern Illinois were gathered together at the Manteno Golf Club in Manteno, Illinois.
They were joined by Arlene Allen and Ann Atkinson. Arlene grew up in Jo Davies County, Illinois, where she attended school in a one-room schoolhouse for seven years. She taught school in the Kankakee area for 38 years. Ann taught kindergarten in Quincy, Massachusetts and Bourbonnais, Illinois, and worked for 22 years in the Graduate School at Olivet Nazarene University.
Anne and Arlene were there to serve as judges for the Illinois Supportive Living Spelling Bee Regional Finals for the North Region. The competition is being sponsored by the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition (AALC), an organization that represents affordable assisted living communities that operate through the Illinois Supportive Living program.
The program enables older adults and adults with physical disabilities of all incomes, including those on Medicaid, to live in a residential-apartment home environment and receive personal assistance, help with medications, and services such as meals, housekeeping and laundry.
Also there to help as assistant judges were six students from Manteno Middle School. Nora Crockett, Taylor Gilliam, Caitlin Godsey, Colin Smith, Olzea Smolinski and Cassidy St. Peter are all members of the school’s Spelling Bee team. They were joined by the school’s Spelling Bee team’s sponsor Erica Lehrus.
More than 100 teams of residents from communities located throughout Illinois had entered the Spelling Bee, with nine teams qualifying for the regional finals in the North Region.
Standard spelling bee rules were followed, with judges giving the team a word to spell. The team had two minutes to work together to agree on a spelling. They could ask the judge to repeat the word, for the definition and for the word to be used in a sentence. One member of the team needed to correctly spell the word for the judges. One wrong letter and the team was out.
The Gold Medal winners was the team from Heritage Woods of Rockford, with Heritage Woods of Manteno coming in second, and Victory Center of Joliet finishing in third.
All three teams qualified for the Spelling Bee Finals, which will be held on May 14 and 15 at the Decatur Hotel and Conference Center in Decatur, Illinois. The most frequently used words in the Scripps national Spelling Bee will be used.
They will be competing against the teams that qualified in the Cook County, Central and Southern Divisions.
Eden Supportive Living of Chicago
Victory Centre of Bartlett
Victory Centre of River Woods
Springfield Supportive Living
Mary Bryant Home in Springfield
Heritage Woods of Charleston
Prairie Living at Chautauqua
Cambridge House of Maryville
Cambridge House of Swansea
Dorie Johnson, one of the members of the winning team from Heritage Woods of Rockford, mentioned that winning the regional title and qualifying for the state finals was an early birthday present. She is celebrating her 90th Birthday today. Like judge Arlene Allen, she grew up in Jo Davies County.
Dorie’s teammate, Nita Mahan, will be 85 on June 26. She started her teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse and then taught second and third grades.
When Dorie and Nita returned home to Heritage Woods of Rockford from the competition in Manteno last Thursday, they were honored by residents and staff with a victory celebration and a banner congratulated them on victory.
Spectators are welcome to attend the Spelling Bee Finals next month in Decatur. We hope to see you there.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.
“BMA Management is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”