Businesses, groups raise money for literacy at Springfield spelling bee

Clark County organizations and businesses had a chance to show off their skills at a spelling bee on Tuesday.

The 22nd annual Altrusa International Foundation of Springfield’s Literacy Sting took place Tuesday afternoon at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Springfield.

The adult spelling bee called for 13 Clark County businesses and organizations to pick their three best spellers to team up and compete while raising money for literacy programs.

Groups take turns spelling words and listen patiently for a potential ding of a bell, signaling an incorrect word. After misspelling a word, the team is immediately disqualified and balloons tied on their chair backs are popped by a woman dressed as bee.

“They are all official Scripps National Spelling Bee words, so it’s meant to be challenging,” said Altrusa President and event organizer Sandy Justice Fitzwater.

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Fitzwater said the competition didn’t have as many teams this year as last, but that’s OK.

“At one point, we had too many teams, and the competition went too long, and we lost some of our contenders because they had to go back to work,” Fitzwater said.

Despite having fewer teams than last year, Fitzwater said she believes this year’s event raised around $7,000. However, final totals are still being counted.

All money raised will help the Altrusa International Club serve residents who have trouble reading, Fitzwater said.

“Last year we were able to buy and donate over 9,000 books to children in the community,” Fitzwater said.

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The Springfield News-Sun advanced to the sixth round, but the team was eliminated by the word picayune, an adjective, which means petty or worthless, according to Merriam Webster.

Springfield News-Sun team members included Editor Sharon Wilmore, columnist Tom Stafford and WHIO/Springfield News-Sun reporter Jenna Lawson.

This year’s winning team was Gorman, Veskauf, Henson and Wineberg. The Springfield law firm took home the title for the ninth time. Shane Latham, Breanne Parcels and Miranda Norman were the three champions spellers.

The group’s winning word was prodigious, an adjective, which means remarkably or impressively great in extent, size or degree, according to Merriam Webster.

Latham said the group’s secret to spelling success isn’t long nights studying or flashcards — it’s just luck.

“It’s just a whole lot of luck,” Latham said. “There is a just a lot of luck involved when it comes to what words you get.”

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