By Rebekah Martin
The East Alabama Chapter of the Public Relations Council of Alabama hosted its 11th annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee July 24. The Bee was held at the Saugahatchee Country Club on Bent Creek Road in Opelika.
All the proceeds from last Thursday’s event will benefit the Lee County Literacy Coalition. A total of 17 teams participated in the bee, and an estimated $5,000 was raised for the coalition.
Opelika Sheriff Jay Jones and Probate Judge Bill English served as judges, and Ric Smith, the voice of Auburn University football, was the pronouncer for the evening. Auburn University mascot Aubie made an appearance to show his support.
Each team had one minute and 45 seconds to correctly spell as many words as possible and received one point per word. The teams were then given a spin on the prize wheel for the opportunity to earn more points, an additional spin or a door prize.
Team “Vowel Movement,” representing Auburn Training Connection, took home the title for the third time in five years. Amber English and Stephanie King won the bee after spelling 32 words correctly.
“Each year we are even more thankful than the last for the spellers, judges and attendees that not only support the Lee County Literacy Coalition but also make this event a lot of fun,” said event co-chair Pam Powers-Smith. “If you haven’t been, you’re missing out!”
Participant Joyce Newland, who was representing Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home, urged people to get involved with the Lee County Literacy Coalition.
“It’s a wonderful experience,” Newland said. “Helping someone learn to read and write is like setting them free from prison. It’s like you are giving them life.”
According to www.leecountyliteracy.org, “The LCLC is a volunteer, nonprofit, United Way agency dedicated to providing free, one-to-one tutoring to Lee County citizens.”
Program Director Sue Edge said, “The money helps the Literacy Coalition continue to offer free tutoring to those in our community who wish to learn to read, write and do basic math.” The coalition also aids citizens who wish to pursue a General Education Diploma in their preparation for the exam.