Springfield lawyers once again claim local spelling bee honors

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Clark County Public Library and the law firm Gorman, Veskauf, Henson and Wineberg competed in the final round of the Altrusa 19th annual Literacy Sting spelling bee.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The 19th annual Literacy Sting in Springfield on Tuesday seemed headed for the same tied result as the national spelling bee earlier this year, but after an extended back and forth, a group of local lawyers took the title once again.

Gorman, Heskauf, Venson and Wineberg won the adult spelling bee for the seventh time, the most any team has won it.

The bee is the largest fundraiser for Altrusa International Club of Springfield. The group hoped to raise about $8,000, which will go toward several literacy programs, including at the Warder Literacy Center, On the Rise and the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center.

Altrusa also buys more than 6,000 books for Clark County readers and provides tutoring, President Sandy Justice said.

About 23 percent of Clark County residents are illiterate, she said. Justice recalled meeting a woman when she first joined Altrusa who couldn’t read but learned with the group’s support.

“She had children whom she had never been able to read a book to … Now she was able to read to her children, she was able to sign checks and she was able to do her own banking,” Justice said.

Plus the event is fun, she said, with rivalries between some teams.

The spelling bee attracts several teams each year from organizations such as Clark State Community College, Security National Bank, Community Mercy Health Partners and the Springfield News-Sun.

The lawyers who won — Shane Latham, Ann Ringler and Jessica Brewer — finally beat out the Clark County Public Library on the word disputatious, which means inclined to dispute.

The words were more difficult this year, Latham said, and the final round lasted longer than any he could remember.

“I don’t think it’s any secret weapon,” he said. “It’s just the luck of the draw. I think we’d all agree that there was 20 or 30 words today at least that none of us really knew how to spell.”

The lawyers return each year as a way to support increased literacy in Springfield, they said.

“And a lot it’s fun,” Ringler said.

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