TJC's dynamic duo of Brenda Korich, surgical tech professor, and Mark Pierce, campus police sergeant, once again won the Literacy Council of Tyler’s 31st Annual Spelling Bee.
This marks TJC’s seventh win — more than any other team in spelling bee history — with the College having also earned top honors in 1995, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2018.
This year’s competition, held Tuesday at the Green Acres Baptist Church CrossWalk Conference Center, included 16 teams from various area organizations.
After more than an hour of intense elimination rounds, the competition came down to a final showdown between TJC and the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
Pierce correctly spelled “blitzkrieg” to clinch the win for TJC.
Korich and Pierce had the good fortune of getting words in their respective areas of expertise.
In addition to “blitzkrieg,” which was perfect for military and history buff Pierce, the team also got medical terms such as “alkaline,” “phalanges,” “dactyloscopy” and “ecchymosis,” which fit nicely into Korich’s background in science and medicine.
“I believe this was the third time that Mark and I have won together,” Korich said. “It’s funny, but in all the years of doing this, we never practiced together. We always did our own thing and then came together for the bee — but it has worked out beautifully.”
“We just really click,” Pierce said in an interview with the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “I mean, if I don’t have it, she has it and vice versa.”
With his retirement approaching this month, he said this was a special spelling bee for him and probably his last time to participate.
Korich said, “For Mark’s sake, I’m really glad it worked out the way it did. He is such a nice guy and we’ve had so much fun as a team.”
Pierce said, “We also really appreciate TJC supporting us and giving us the opportunity to go out in the community and represent the College. It’s a great event and I’ve enjoyed being a part of it.”
TJC President and CEO Dr. Juan E. Mejia said, “We truly value the partnership with the Literacy Council of Tyler, and we celebrate all of the corporations that had teams participate, as together we can make a difference for the better. Our most sincere congratulations to Team TJC, Professor Korich and Sergeant Pierce, for bringing another trophy home, again!"