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‘Mark our words, the Spellcasters will return to the spelling stage one day’

This has been a century of champions. The Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics have amassed 12 world titles. Actually there have been 15 trophies to hoist if you include the Spellcasters from Nashua.

The Spellcasters, a trio of local teachers who have won all three Nashua Adult Spelling Bee contests, agreed to walk away undefeated. But there’s a good reason for this unexpected move, that sent a tsunami of syllables through Nashua’s orthography world.

“I had a scary thought of being the football, I mean spelling team that no one liked,” confesses Louise Norway, third grade teacher at Sunset Heights Elementary School. “I also wondered if the effect of our triple winnings would mean less teams entering the spelling bee. Besides, our names can’t be the only names engraved on the trophy,” she added altruistically.

The Patriots may have their detractors, but who couldn’t love three teachers, who were able to out spell dozens of teams with words like chevesaile and scherzo? Even though they would not compete next April, the Spellcasters pitched Nashua Education Foundation Adult Spelling Bee organizer Beth Kreick to serve as judges instead.

“You guys are too funny. Yes, you can be judges,” Beth said, according to Louise. Team member Lisa Drew, second grade teacher at Broad Street Elementary School is sad to be out of the game next time.

“Choosing not to be in the spelling bee this year was bittersweet,” Lisa said. “The pride I saw in my son’s eyes and the excitement from my students each year helped light my fire. Teaching them to work toward a goal, leading by example is priceless.” For Polly Koczalka, Broad Street School special education teacher, being on top was fun.

“It was hard to decide not to enter this year, as I have enjoyed preparing for and participating in the bee each year. The NEF does such great work with the funds they raise, that the thought of fewer teams participating due to our ‘dynasty’ would be a loss. So now, we’ll participate in a different way and let someone else shine,” Polly said.

All three enjoyed the team chemistry and practice nights. Were there adult beverages involved, I wondered? “The three of us would have study sessions at Shorty’s and yes, drinks were involved,” Louise freely admits. “Our team captain, Polly, brought whiteboards and markers. Our waitresses and the customers sitting next to us would get a kick out of hearing that we were in a spelling bee.” The kids enjoyed the process, too, Louise said. “Involving our students also came with an important lesson for them. They saw their teachers studying and trying to accomplish a goal that didn’t come without hard work.”

The Spellcasters are not Murderers Row of the 1927 Yankees and no one boos them in public. On top of that, they are graciously stepping aside but not going away. “Mark our words, the Spellcasters will return to the spelling stage one day,” Louise added. Duly noted.

Who can spell ‘trash talking?’

Contact Mike Morin at mike morinmedia@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @MikeMorinMedia. His column runs the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of the month.