Trinity Emphasizes Commitment to Hartford Public Schools at Spelling Bee

Achieve Hartford! Event Raises Nearly $70,000 for Education

HARTFORD, CT, November 8, 2012 - Trinity College was a premier sponsor for the Achieve Hartford! Community Spelling Bee, a special event that celebrates student achievement and fosters community support for learning, held at the Learning Corridor, across from the Trinity College campus, on Friday, October 19.  Introductory remarks were delivered by Trinity President James F. Jones and the event was emceed by Paul Assaiante, 13-time National Champion head squash coach at Trinity, and owner of the longest winning streak in intercollegiate sports.  

The Bee, which Trinity and many Hartford based companies have sponsored for the last six years, raised nearly $70,000 - double the previous years. Funds raised from the Bee will help underwrite Achieve Hartford’s SmartChoices and Choice Education Programs, both developed to assist families in navigating the complex school choice process in Hartford; and Parent Workshops designed to prepare parents to be strong advocates for their children’s education.

Mascots from supporting schools and companies were on hand to lead the cheering crowds supporting teams of three that battled for spelling supremacy in Hartford.  The opening round featured area high school students, while the second round was held for competing adults.  The winning team from each met in a final round to determine the champion of the event. 

“Many Trinity students, faculty, and staff dedicated significant amounts of time and resources to this event demonstrating how important the success of the Hartford Public Schools is to our community,” said Stefanie Chambers, associate professor of political science at Trinity and a representative for the College on the Achieve Hartford! board.

President Jones emphasized Trinity’s continuing commitment to public education in Hartford in his opening remarks.  Trinity’s involvement in the event included student groups as well.  The Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at Trinity volunteered to set up, staff, and clean up at the event, before bringing leftover food to a local shelter.  Entertainment was provided by The Moveable Joints, Trinity’s student improvisational group that performed skits based on audience recommendations, while appealing to the wide range of ages in attendance.  The skits were followed by a short performance by The Accidental’s, one of Trinity’s all-male a Cappella groups, which sang three songs for the attentive crowd. 

“To see Trinity College so deeply engaged in such a wonderful community service driven event at the Learning Corridor was truly amazing,” Assaiante said after the event.  “From President Jones’ moving speech to the [Bantam mascots] funny antics, I was overwhelmed with pride to be from Trinity.”

After the performances, the spelling battle heated up, as the two remaining teams, The Spartans from SPARTA Insurance and Gladiators Trouble Clefs, faculty members from Classical Magnet School, moved on to the championship round.  After a prolonged battle, with both teams on their “Bee” game, the adults edged the impressive youth team, Bee Great! from the Trinity Boys and Girls Club, taking home the trophy.  But the student team did not go home empty-handed, as each individual member was awarded an iPad for his standout display of spelling savvy.  

“The Spelling Bee was a great experience, going against all of the other high schools. I love my iPad!” exclaimed Matthew J., a member of the student team. 

“Ever since I was a child, the Boys & Girls Club staff have encouraged me to read. This helped me expand my vocabulary enough to win the Spelling Bee,” Branden C., said. “I am very grateful for all of the opportunities that the Boys & Girls Club has exposed me to.”

The Community Spelling Bee is a lively fun filled event that attracts over 130 participants and more than 400 spectators and fans to cheer on their favorite teams. 

Plans are already underway for next year’s Bee, which will be held in mid-October.  If you would like to learn more about the Bee, participate or “bee” a sponsor, please contact Achieve Hartford! at 860-244-3333 or

For more information about Achieve Hartford!, visit

View photos from the Community Spelling Bee.