A Spelling Montage

By Sydney Spector

As the school day winds down, twenty-odd kids ranging from Freshmen to Seniors pile into the theater, ready for another rehearsal of this year’s musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

I tried out for the musical on a whim, not expecting to actually get one of the leads: Logainne “Schwarzy” SchwartzandGrubenierre, the left-leaning, politically minded, elementary schooler with two gay dads and an over-pronounced speech-impediment of not being able to pronounce the letter “s.” I actually have a terrible fear of public speaking and have a lot of stuff to do after school, holding down a lifeguarding job at the YMCA and trying to get into Physical Therapy for my right wrist after a serious car accident, school work, and working on my STP so I graduate on time and go to college while trying to secure my second job at the Jewish Community Center as a lifeguard over the summer. I still haven’t gotten the JCC Application in, even though it will be my third year with them.

Pebble 25th Annual Putnam County Photo 1

What I’ve noticed is how very inflexible the rehearsal schedule is. You have to show up to every rehearsal, or at least email the director, Tanner Effinger, telling him you’re not planning on being there, even though I tried to put down my conflicts. Towards the beginning of the rehearsals, I had to miss rehearsals due to work commitments. Having to plan the days that I wouldn’t work almost a month in advance was something I found confusing, difficult, and tiresome, but I knew it would be a good life skill to practice now rather than later.  

Pebble 25th Annual Putnam County Photo 2 

Learning how to spell words that I’ll probably never have to use again like “strabismus” or “cystitis” was also hard for me since my spelling is about as good as a kindergartener’s. I have always found spell-check as savior and will often joke with family members and co-workers about my internet search history being misspelled words and that I’m “too old” to be typing them into the Google Search Bar hoping it recognizes the mistake I made.  

But as crunch-time approaches and the faculty preview being this Thursday and opening night this Friday with six shows spreading this weekend and next weekend, I find myself hoping that I don’t slip up on a line in front Mr. Montas, slip out of the lisp, or trip over some non-existent thing and make a complete fool of myself in front of my graduating class. I often find myself repeating “strabismus” and “cystitis” in my head so I don’t mess them up during one of the performances. I find myself accidentally using the speech-impediment that I use on stage in conversations in real life, which I’m sure confuses people.

But at least I can tell my future kids or my college roommate “Yeah, I did my school’s musical, in my Senior Year.” It’ll be nice to have bragging rights, and thankfully, we’ll still have spell-check.