Speller

Jackie Wescott shows off some of the hardware from winning the spelling bee.

Salubrious, anoint, desiccate, counterintuitive, antidisestablishmentarianism.

Jackie Wescott proved she can still get through some pretty tough words and win a spelling bee.

Wescott, 79, lives at Prestige Assisted Living with her husband and recently topped a few other residents, all women, in a bee that played out over two weeks in half-hour sessions.

Her winning word? Sycophant — someone who uses flattery to gain advantage.

She started training decades ago during school in the Boston area.

“I enjoyed everything about school,” she said. “We had spelling tests every Friday.”

She found the event to be “a whole lot of fun! The whole event was a great challenge and brought back some fond memories of helping kids get accepted to their dream colleges.”

Wescott spent eight years teaching college board prep in Newton and Brookline, Mass.

The Spelling Bee at Prestige Assisted Living was administered by Activities Director Rhonda Habriga and the words came from a spelling bee guide.

“There were lots of giggles,” Habriga said. “It was stimulating for me and for the residents. I reassured the residents it’s all just for fun. If people are unsure of an activity that’s what I tell them… it’s all just for fun.”

Westcott said a 97-year-old woman would have won if she hadn’t.

“It was so much fun doing this because I love being challenged,” she said.

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Contact Green Valley News freelance reporter Ellen Sussman at ellen2414@cox.net.