Literacy Council fund-raiser spells success

The 2007 winners in the Blount County Literacy Council Adult Spelling Bee accept their award from Nan Taylor, Blount County Literacy Council president.  Winners were Margaret Butler and Neill Monaghan for Maryville Rotary.

The 2007 winners in the Blount County Literacy Council Adult Spelling Bee accept their award from Nan Taylor, Blount County Literacy Council president. Winners were Margaret Butler and Neill Monaghan for Maryville Rotary.

How do you spell success? For those participating in the 13th Annual Adult Spelling Bee, success is spelled through participation.

The Adult Spelling Bee, which benefits the Blount County Literacy Council, will take place on April 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Blount County Center of Pellissippi State Technical Community College.

“It’s a dual purpose event,” said Angela Groenhout, a spelling bee contestant for the past three years. “You know it’s for a good cause, and it brings out the competitive spirit.”

Groenhout, who also serves as an independent administrative assistant for the Literacy Council, said that the Adult Spelling Bee brings back the excitement that people experienced as school children. She said some contestants seek to avenge losses in their school spelling bee by making it through more rounds in the Adult Spelling Bee.

According to Carol Ergenbright, the coordinator of the adult education program of the Blount County Literacy Council, the spelling bee fund-raiser helps the program provide services to more than 700 people every year.

“Education is the key to open the door to the future,” Ergenbright said. She said that approximately 200 adults earned their GED last year through the adult education program.

“Obtaining a GED can lead to employment opportunities,” Ergenbright said. Some other services available through the adult education program include improving reading, writing, math and computer skills as well as an English as a second language class.

“It is so inspirational to see people overcome hardships and get their GED and lead a more fulfilling life,” Ergenbright said. She said the literacy skills taught through the Literacy Council help people become self-sufficient and contribute to the community.

For those who want to participate in the Adult Spelling Bee to help raise money for the Literacy Council, Ergenbright said there is still time to register for the event. The entry fee to register a team is $300. Also, companies and organizations can sponsor teams or make a donation. For participating teams, they can also buy a second chance option for an additional $200. This would allow a team to miss a word and get a second opportunity at another word.

“This is a pressure-free spelling bee,” Ergenbright said. A team consists of two people, and they can confer with one another on the word. They are also given a pad of paper to help visualize the spelling of the word.

During breaks in the spelling bee action, audience participation is encouraged. For correctly spelled words by audience members, door prizes are available. Children who come to the event also have opportunities to participate and to win prizes. The event is open to the public.

The spelling master who will be calling out the words is Nan Taylor, board member and past president of the Blount County Literacy Council. Area librarians will serve as judges for the event.

According to Ergenbright, 15 to 20 teams participate each year in the fund-raiser.

“The event offers good camaraderie and good competition,” Groenhout said.

Participants can access the spelling bee study material by downloading a booklet at www.myspellit.com. To find out more information about the Blount County Literacy Council, call 865-982-8998.

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