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updated: 5/13/2014 5:43 PM

You're never too old to compete in a spelling bee

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  • Roberta Cogan, right, grimaces as she spells a word during the Senior Spelling Bee Tuesday at Warren-Newport Public Library. Eleven contestants participated in the bee sponsored by the library, Vista Health System and the Lake County Council for Seniors.

       Roberta Cogan, right, grimaces as she spells a word during the Senior Spelling Bee Tuesday at Warren-Newport Public Library. Eleven contestants participated in the bee sponsored by the library, Vista Health System and the Lake County Council for Seniors.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Kay Meyer spells a word during the Senior Spelling Bee Tuesday at Warren-Newport Public Library. Eleven contestants participated in the bee sponsored by the library, Vista Health System and the Lake County Council for Seniors.

       Kay Meyer spells a word during the Senior Spelling Bee Tuesday at Warren-Newport Public Library. Eleven contestants participated in the bee sponsored by the library, Vista Health System and the Lake County Council for Seniors.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Awards given out during the Senior Spelling Bee Tuesday at Warren-Newport Public Library. Eleven contestants participated in the bee sponsored by the library, Vista Health System and the Lake County Council for Seniors.

       Awards given out during the Senior Spelling Bee Tuesday at Warren-Newport Public Library. Eleven contestants participated in the bee sponsored by the library, Vista Health System and the Lake County Council for Seniors.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
By Gilbert R. Boucher II
gboucher@dailyherald.com

Proving you're never too old for a little friendly competition, 11 senior citizens participated in the Senior Spelling Bee on Tuesday at Warren-Newport Public Library in Gurnee.

The library decided to host the spelling bee partly because of research that seniors should keep their minds active and challenged to delay dementia, and after hearing about a senior spelling bee at the Illinois State Fair, according to Gail Schrader, the library's adult programming specialist.

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"We thought we would try one that would be informal and relaxed," Shrader explained. "I think it's doing wonderfully. They are going through the words much faster than I had anticipated."

The event was sponsored by the Senior Circle program at Vista Health System, the library and the Lake County Council for Seniors.

The older adults seemed nervous as they took turns spelling words, such as librarian, champagne and macabre.

"I was anxious and nervous," said Bill Michell of Gurnee. "They had one (spelling bee) about three years ago, which I won, at the senior center and I wanted to try again."

Divina Huff won the bee with the word "paparazzi."

The event benefited the Food Pantry of the COOL Ministries in Waukegan and Ingleside, as attendees were asked to bring a nonperishable can or boxed good for donation.

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