Lacking in attendance

SHS spell bowl team faces challenges with dwindling numbers


photo contributed by Manprit Kaur

Members of the spell bowl team gather at one of the competitions.

The SHS Spell Bowl team has recently made it to state competitions, and it’s not a typical spelling-bee. Despite this, even inexperienced people can take part.

Students are given a list of 2,000 words to study for competitions. During the competition words are randomly selected from the list, and given to spellers to spell. Each speller has to spell nine words during a round, and there are ten rounds in a match.

Adler started the spell bowl team around five years ago after being asked by one of his students to sponsor the team. However he’s certainly happy about the team’s performance this year.

“It was a lot of fun,” Adler said. ” We knew we probably weren’t going to get first or second.” 

The team would be placed 11th out of 125 in the state, an outcome not expected by some members of the team.

“We did not have a full team the week before the regional competition,” senior Enzo Zavalata said.

Only the top 30 teams make it to the state competition. And SHS’s team was one of the 30 that qualified, despite attempting to recruit members until the last minute.

Recruitment is the team’s main threat to its survival.

 “I had the bare minimum of spellers,” Adler said. “I have to beg every year to get 10 spellers.”

Even after the last-minute recruitments, half of the team is graduating at the end of this year, making additional recruits in the coming season vital to the team’s ability to compete.

It’s frustrating, it’s difficult, I wish we could get the word out more and get more people involved.”

— Spell bowl coach Jason Adler

“I would love to have a consistent team every year,” Adler said.

Despite the challenge that the team faces in recruitment, Adler understands the things that make joining the team an unviable option.

“Even though we’re a large school, we can’t really have practices during the school day, so you have to have a ride,” Adler said. “It’s frustrating, it’s difficult, I wish we could get the word out more and get more people involved.”