Spellers went through several rounds of difficult words before a team won the fourth annual corporate spelling bee.
It took 90 words and more than an hour before a spelling champion was crowned Thursday night in the fourth annual Corporate Spelling Bee at Liberty Hall.
And, fittingly, it was a group of high school employees that were left when all was said and spelled.
"All of a sudden, there weren't any teams left, and we were shocked," said Sharon Stice, a counselor at Free State High School.
She and team members Cindy Kelly and Connie Kesinger won the bee by correctly spelling "clavicle," a bone situated just above the first rib on either side of the neck.
The word was misspelled by the other finalist, a team of members from Douglas County Bank.
The FSHS team correctly spelled "clavicle" and then spelled "onyx" to win the bee.
In all, 19 teams participated in the event, sponsored by the Journal-World. About 80 people watched the bee.
Kelly is a study hall and in-school substitute teacher, and Kesinger is secretary for FSHS principal Joe Snyder.
The FSHS team was sponsored by Glenn, Livingood Penzler Architects.
"We just got together three times, for two to three hours apiece," Stice said. "We didn't know we were as far as we were until they said there were only two teams left."
Sunflower Cable, which had teams eliminated relatively early in past bees, landed third place. Sunflower was eliminated when a member misspelled "congelative," which means tending to curdle.
A team of Pinckney school employees, sponsored by Lawrence Memorial Hospital, won the award for having the most spirit.
The spelling bee is a fund-raising project for the Newspapers in Education program, which allows the J-W to provide newspapers to area students without charge.
The J-W now provides more than 700 copies each day to several schools in Lawrence and the area.
The corporate sponsors each contribute $300 per team for the project.
"We're going to have one champion, but we've got a whole bunch of winners here tonight," said J-W General Manager Ralph Gage, who was pronouncer for the bee.
Gage also remarked several times that the quality of Thursday night's spelling was outstanding.
"These are some tough words they've spelled," he said.
All 19 teams made it through the first round, and only four dropped out in each of the second and third rounds.
Sallie Mae and Allen Press sponsored two teams each. Other businesses sponsoring teams were the J-W, Wal-Mart, Stephens Real Estate, Kansas Public Service, Bud Jennings Carpet One, Sho-Rack, Oread Inc., Hallmark Cards Inc., Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Davol Inc., and Southwestern Bell/Geeks on Wheels.