Upward of 150 were in attendance as the 20th Anniversary Adult Spelling Bee of The Literacy Council of Clermont and Brown Counties got under way at the Miami Township Civic Center at noon on Friday, June 15, 2012 with an enthusiastic recitation of The Pledge of Allegiance. Fifteen teams of three spellers each, representing organizations in the area, competed for the top three honors. Tom Amrine, an attorney, Rob Hampton, a second grade teacher, and Robin Webster, a retired E. W. Scripps professional, comprised the team from St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Anderson Township that took first place by correctly spelling deglutition, which means the act or process of swallowing.
Brenda Ely, Kristy Maruca and John Turpening represented Child Focus, the second-place winner. Diane McCarty, Melissa Wagers and Ed Stanten of Workforce One of Clermont County placed third.
First-place winners received gold medals, complimentary dinner certificates from Texas Roadhouse and tickets from Raves Motion Pictures. The second-place team was awarded silver medals and dinner certificates from Mama Vita’s. Bronze medals and Great Scott Eateries dinner certificates went to the third-place team.
The Literacy Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Its main mission is to enable adults to acquire basic reading, writing, speaking, and listening and comprehension skills needed to improve job performance and potential and otherwise participate fully in society; in addition, it aims to increase awareness of literacy needs in the community. Funds raised at the Spelling Bee, including sponsorships, donations, proceeds of raffles, revenues from silent auctions and the public auction of a chocolate mocha buttercream cake, decorated with edible bees and flowers, raised approximately $9,000. Jean Eichert, wife of a board member, made and donated the cake. Income from the event will help fund Council’s efforts to combat illiteracy throughout the year and will trim a portion of this year’s revenue shortfall arising from budget cutbacks at the State level.
A highlight of the opening ceremony was the testimony of Kevin Henson, a Literacy Council student who has been burdened with dyslexia all his life and, now in mid-life, has sought help to overcome this learning disability that is a problem for many with literacy deficiencies. With the help of his tutor, Kathy Gillespie, he has prepared himself for college. Now enrolled in Southern State Community College in Brown County, he has completed his first school year with the highest grade in his English class. His advice: “If you’re struggling (with reading), don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get help or go for help NOW instead of struggling. It’s a battle, and it only gets worse. It won’t get better on its own.”
Miami Township City Manager Larry Fronk and Trustee Mary Makley Wolff paved the way for use of the Miami Room of the Civic Center for the event. Luthur Jackson, who hosts Tuesday Morning Hayride on WOBO (88.7 FM) brought in, set up and tended the sound system. A number of local businesses sponsored teams, donated services or contributed prizes or food for the lunch that preceded the event.
Not just for the young people, this year’s Bee included a team from St. Paul Village Senior Living. Other teams competing represented Clermont County Public Library, Park National Bank, U.C. Clermont College, the City of Milford, the Literacy Council, LifePoint Solutions, U.S. Grant Career Center, Clermont Senior Services, Miami Township, Chatfield College and Western Brown Local Schools.