Village of Orland Park Co-Sponsors 36th Annual Spelling Bee

Village of Orland Park Co-Sponsors 36th Annual Spelling Bee
Posted on 10/13/2014

An Orland Park tradition returns on Sunday, October 19, 2014 when the Village of Orland Park and the Presbyterian Church of Orland Park co-host the 36th annual Orland Park Open Spelling Bee.

“This is a wonderful event for all ages,” said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. “The Orland Park community is grateful to Dr. Smith for creating this contest that brings back the small town feel from the village’s early days,” the mayor added.

The 2 p.m. bee will be held at the Presbyterian Church of Orland Park, 13401 South Wolf Road.

“’Little House on the Prairie,’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder, triggered the idea of a community wide spelling bee,” said Dr. Bill Smith, who served as superintendent of Alsip School District 126 for 31 years.

“In the story, they had an all town spelling bee in 1882 in the Dakota Territories. I held my first spelling bee during our nation’s bi-centennial in Oak Lawn in 1976 and have held more than 100 since then,” Smith said. “We have wonderful volunteers who all work together to make this possible.”

Participants of all ages from throughout the region are invited to participate in the Orland Park Bee.

The contest will begin for those ages eight to 10 at 2 p.m. At 2:45 p.m., those age 11 through high school will join. Adults will join the contest at 3:30 p.m.

“We’ve had entire families compete together,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a fun afternoon to see who lasts the longest.”

Past award winners will not enter the contest later as they have in the past. All previous winners should enter the contest with their respective age groups.

“It’s a testament to Dr. Smith and the spelling bee that this tradition has continued in Orland Park for more than three decades,” said Trustee Ed Schussler, one of the competition’s first judges in 1979.

There is no cost to participate and pre-registration is strongly encouraged by sending an email to or by calling 708/429-7764 or 815/713-5502.

Include the participant’s name, address, phone number, age and school, if a student.

“The Orland Park Open Spelling Bee affords an opportunity for intergenerational competition,” Smith said, “You don’t find many things that do that.”