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Hamptons Scrabble Club Setting The Stage To Compete At National Championship In Massachusetts

Nicole Barylski

Holly Anderson, Christian Pensa, and Shaina Pierce (back row) along with Alison Pensa, Willy Kraus, and Tara Brochu are part of the Hampton Bays Middle School Scrabble Teams competing at 2016 North American School Championship. (Courtesy Photo)

On Sunday, March 6th, the Hampton Bays Middle School Scrabble Club is presenting its 6th Annual Scrabble "FUN"Raiser tournament. Proceeds from the event will support six of the Club's members, who will battle for prestige and honor next month during the biggest competition of the year.

"The fundraiser benefits the three teams [two students per team] going to the 2016 National School Scrabble Championship," explained Kathy Hummel, who coaches the students. The 2016 Championship is taking place at Gillette Stadium, A.K.A. home of the New England Patriots, in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

A nationwide school Scrabble program, developed by the National Scrabble Association and Milton Bradley, was established in 1992, and students from the Hampton Bays School District have been participating in competitions since 1999. The program was created to familiarize youth with the classic game and also to help safeguard the legacy of Tournament Scrabble. Along with building participants vocabulary, the game also teaches players about math, spatial relationships, time management and because students play in teams of two during tournaments, they also learn how to work in a group and conflict resolution. Currently, over 500,000 kids play Scrabble in more than 20,000 classrooms across the United States through the program.

Competitors from Hampton Bays have represented the school at the Long Island School Scrabble Championships and have also had a presence at every National School Scrabble Championship (NSSC). Since its inception in 2003, Hampton Bays has sent 29 teams with 31 different players to compete at NSSC. Hosted by the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) and Hasbro, NSSC is an annual tournament open to students in grades 4th through 8th, who play against teams representing schools and other youth organizations from across the United States and Canada.

The "FUN"Raiser tournament is a little different than a traditional word game. "It's not your grandmother's Scrabble," said Hummel. "It's Scrabble with a twist." Teams of two (pairings can include two students, two adults or a mix) will play three games. Earning a competitive advantage is where this event differs. If you pre-register, you'll receive special word lists and playing tips. And make sure to come with a little extra moola because, for a fee, attendees can tip the odds in their favor by buying a vowel, paying to preview the word list or get some advice from an expert.

"You don't have to be a 'good' speller--you just have to want to have a good time for a good cause," added Hummel.

The 6th Annual Scrabble "FUN"Raiser tournament will take place at the Hampton Bays Elementary School from 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 6th. The suggested donation is $15 per person or $30 per team for pre-registeration and $20 per person or $40 per team at the door. Both admission fees include lunch.

Hampton Bays Elementary School is located at 72 Ponquogue Avenue in Hampton Bays. To pre-register, contact Kathy Hummel at 631-872-8434 or jkkhum@aol.com.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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