How do you spell f-u-n-d-r-a-i-s-e-r? Need it in a sentence? Here goes: The Project Read Spelling Bee for Grown-Ups was held Saturday, September 10, and for the fifth year in a row brought together talented logophiles to tackle those tricky “i’s” before “e’s” and silent “p’s,” all to benefit Project Read, an adult literacy program serving Utah County. From the extravagant team costumes to the emergency lifelines, this is unlike any spelling bee you’ve ever attended. The money raised provide critical funds to enable Project Read to continue offering one-on-one tutoring services to teach illiterate adults of Utah County to read and write.
“We couldn’t have done it without the many sponsors, participants, and volunteers that made the fifth annual Project Read Spelling Bee a great fundraiser,” said Project Read Executive Director Shauna K. Brown.
The event was held Saturday, September 10 from 10 am–1 pm in the ballroom of the Provo City Library at Academy Square. Eleven 3-member teams competed for the title of Spelling Bee Champion. Teams huddled around whiteboards in hopes of out-spelling each other while raising funds and awareness for Project Read.
The Project Read Spelling Bee is certainly a way to take another shot at the glory of becoming Spelling Bee champs, but without too much pressure. “I didn’t want it to be serious or scary like the National Spelling Bee you see on TV,” said Brown. “It’s more fun when the audience gets involved and there’s not so much pressure to perform.”
Judges included Heather Anderson, of Provo City; Wendy Smemoe, a BYU Linguistics Professor and current chair of the Project Read Board of Trustees; and Tad Walch, from the Deseret Morning News. Official mascot Buzzy the Bee buzzed around the ballroom distracting spellers and interacting with members of the audience. He even got his own white board in round 3 and attempted to spell along. Audience members could also spell along, for a fee. The winner from the audience each round received a gift certificate to Red Robin.
Dana Robinson, the MC, and Lee Bartlett, the pronouncer, kept things lively by exchanging jokes with the participants, the judges and the mascot. The Nelson Nerds exchanged playful banter with the Mnemonic Mamas as the final round turned heated. Judge Tad Walch suggested including an whiteboard art competition in conjunction with the bee next year, as participants included pictures of the words they had just spelled, in addition to love messages to the judges.
The Mnemonic Mamas retained their title as Spelling Bee champions for the third year in a row, winning a crescent award donated by Mullett Hoover, and annual passes donated by Gold’s Gym.
Rosie Sargeant, a member of the winning Mnemonic Mamas team said, “I am a very happy mom to do this with my daughters. We had so much fun. I have always been the one to cheer my kids on at their Spelling Bees. It’s fun for me to be able to compete. Project Read is such a great program. This was a super opportunity to give to a prove that improves other’s lives through reading.”
The Marians of the Provo City Library held on to second place after a spell off with the Nelson Nerds. They received golf passes courtesy of Northwestern Mutual. They also received gift certificates to Red Robin restaurant for the best team costume (two bees and a bee keeper). The Nerds went home with passes to a play at Hale Center Theater Orem, and the team from United Way, Live United, took the final prize with gift certificates to Goodwood BBQ. The Thinkerbelles, a team of neighbors from Saratoga Springs, took home the title of best team name and received gift certificates to Dickey’s BBQ.
We look forward to putting on an even bigger and better Spelling Bee in 2012. Watch our web site to learn how to become a sponsor or participate.
Check out the Daily Herald article about the event.
Click here to see photos from the event.