The 21st annual community spelling bee helps fund literacy programs in Clark County.

Springfield spellers compete to raise money for literacy

Hearing the bell ring after misspelling a word can sting but it hurts less after remembering it was all for a good cause.

The annual Altrusa International Club of Springfield Literacy Sting took place Tuesday afternoon at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Springfield. The adult spelling bee calls for Clark County businesses and organizations to pick their three best spellers to team up and compete while raising money for literacy programs.

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The bee this year ended in an unprecedented three-way tie involving Clark State Community College, the Master Gardener Volunteers of Clark County and Gorman, Veskauf, Henson & Wineberg law firm.

All the money raised helps the organization serve residents who have trouble reading, said Sandy Justice with Altrusa.

“We get money so we can buy books and support activities in the Clark County community that promote literacy,” she said.

The group also raises money to buy stuffed teddy bears to hand out to children stuck in the middle of emergencies who are being tended to by police officers or firefighters, Justice said.

Tutoring and other services that promote reading are needed in the county, Justice said.

“Clark County, unfortunately, has a very low rate for literacy,” she said. “So our program tries to reduce the number of people who cannot read or write. There are a number of adults who cannot read to their children.”

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A room full of people cheered on the spellers Tuesday. Justice said it’s clear the community backs their program.

And while the competition is fierce, a lot of fun was had. A woman dressed as a bee ran around the room popping the balloons of contestants who misspelled a word.

The Springfield News-Sun team consisted of Editor Sharon Wilmore and reporters Jenna Lawson and Matt Sanctis. The newspaper team was ousted in the third round on the word polysyllabic.

The final amount raised was still being counted, but in the past the event has raised between $5,000 to $15,000, Justice said.

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