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St. Mary Star of the Sea

St. Mary Star of the Sea, based in downtown Beverly, Mass., is a Catholic school under the Archdiocese of Boston that serves students from kindergarten through grade 8. This past October, Gregg Foster and I had the chance to meet with the school's SCRABBLE® club, led by 6th grade teacher and coach, Erin Digrande (seen in the bottom photo with Takashi Binns and Andrew Dunn). On this day, ten students, clad in school uniforms of plaid skirts, dress pants, white shirts, and ties, were arranged around groups of four desks with a modified deluxe SCRABBLE® board in each center.

Mrs. Digrande had ordered a Hasbro School SCRABBLE® kit and was well stocked with six boards, ample racks, bags of tiles, and an Official SCRABBLE® Players Dictionary, 3rd Edition. After a brief introduction and discussion of two-letter words, the games began with Mrs. Digrande, Gregg Foster, and I wandering around offering assistance. The students, used to strategizing in teams, worked well together and conferred on plays in seeming harmony. Because her club is so large, Mrs. Digrande had no trouble forming three teams of players.

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[photo] The school's blue team is Jason Comeau (age 11, grade 6, top left photo, with MSSC team member Gregg Foster) and Briahnna Skinner (age 13, grade 7, top right photo, to the right of Kate Maloney, also lower left photo, again with Kate Maloney playing Sophie Kelley and Katie Horgan). Both students list science as their favorite school subject. Briahnna has been playing SCRABBLE® for about five years and Jason has been playing for about two. Jason plays against his Mom and claims to have made a 40-point play recently. Briahnna plays with her parents, friends, and relatives.
[photo] Their red team is Andrew Dunn (age 12, grade 6, right in bottom photo) and Ellen Handly (age 11, grade 6), pictured at left. Andrew excels in social studies and he enjoys playing SCRABBLE® with his family. He's been playing SCRABBLE® for four years while Ellen has been at it for seven years. Her favorite subject is spelling. She remembers playing the word BOARDER recently. Ellen enjoys playing SCRABBLE® with her family members.
[photo] St. Mary's green team is comprised of Takashi Binns (age 11, grade 6) and Chris Lane (age 12, grade 6, in above photo with Ellen). Chris has been playing SCRABBLE® since he was seven years old and he most enjoys playing with his aunt. His best subject is spelling which probably explains how he found what has been his most exciting SCRABBLE® play so far: WHEELBARROW. I wish I'd been there to see that play! Takashi has been playing SCRABBLE® for three years and his favorite opponent is his grandmother. He vividly remembers playing SWINGERS for 99 points recently. Takashi's favorite school subject is social studies.


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