By Morgan Bryce

Aug. 15 will mark the 16th annual “Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee” organized by the Lee County Literacy Coalition (LCLC), an organization dedicated to helping individuals receive the basic skills they need to succeed in life.
Held at the Auburn University Alumni Center, the spelling bee’s format derives influence from the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Teams from local businesses and organizations will go head-to-head to determine the area’s best speller.
Opelika Chamber of Commerce President Pam Powers-Smith returns as emcee for the spelling bee and judges will include Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones, new Opelika Main Street Director Ken Ward and Chambers County CASA Program Coordinator Beth Johnson. Jordan-Hare Stadium Announcer Ric Smith will fill in for the late Rod Bramblett as the chief word pronouncer.
“I’d say the purpose for this event is three-fold: to raise awareness, a fun-filled evening and chance for people to give. This is an event that we look forward to every year,” said new LCLC Executive Director Patricia Butts.
Jim ‘N Nick’s will provide heavy hors d’oeuvres and door prizes will be given away throughout the evening. Butts added that there will also be a tribute to Bramblett, who along with his wife Paula passed away on May 25 as a result of a tragic automobile accident.
After undergoing some major administrative changes earlier this year, Butts explained that her organization’s new slogan is “always improving” – a reference to both its services and efforts to create brighter futures for the citizens of Lee County.
“We are having to adapt to today’s technology and use it to help us in our mission, and we are always striving to make sure that we reach out to more learners and tutors. We want to educate folks about literacy and take away some of the stigma for the learner as they go through the programs we offer,” Butts said.
Team slots are mostly filled, but individual tickets are still available for $40 each. They can be purchased by calling 334-705-0001 or online through The venue is located at 317 S. College St. in downtown Auburn.