Grownup Spelling Bee

Left to right: Eric Housh, Blair Goodgame, Michael Murphy

The St. Clair County chapter of The Literacy Council of Central Alabama held The Great Grown Up Spelling B-E-E in the CEPA building in Pell City last Thursday. Raffle ticket sales and donation went towards efforts by the council to alleviate adult illiteracy in the areas of St. Clair county, especially for the purchase of training materials and the training of volunteer English tutors. Sonia Dale, President of The Literacy Council of St. Clair, introduced Fred Hunter, weatherman and host of Absolutely Alabama of WBRC Birmingham who presided as Master of Ceremonies for the evening; Walter Kennedy performed the duties of the Word Caller and the judges were Dr. James Martin, Judge Robert Minor and Jay Jenkins.

Tammie Williams remarked on the importance of literacy in today’s world. “Imagine if you were unable to read the Bible or complete a job application,” she said, “This is the reality of approximately 9000 adults in St. Clair county and about 15% of Alabamians who cannot perform these tasks and are considered to be functionally illiterate.” The Literacy Council of Alabama defines functional illiteracy as the inability to read, write, or use basic math skills and technology in everyday life. It is hard to imagine for many of us how anybody could function in our society which today is so dependent on reading, math and technology; however, illiterate individuals inhabit many walks of life despite the many challenges they may face.

The lively contestants were organized into 12 teams of three. Each team appointed a leader who would spell the word while conferring with their teammates. Contestants were encouraged to ask as many questions about the word such as definition, origin or its use in a sentence. The three winners of the night were Blair Goodgame, Michael Murphy and Eric Housh from the team Alphaholics. Runners up were the members of the team Stocks and Blondes: Sarah Brazzolloto, Teri Gagliano and former mayor Adam Stocks. Third place team was Websters which included Tiffany Rowe, Susan Howell and Jennifer Sellers.

The Literacy Council was formed to aid those who reach adulthood without the ability to read or write to find and acquire the education they need to reach their highest literacy potential. Services provided by the Literacy Council are free to those who require them.

The sponsors for the night’s events came primarily from local business and private donors. Each donor was placed into a tier based on how much they contributed. The “BEE” FF Sponsors, Metro Bank and Pell City Rotary, contributed $500, the Beelievers donated $300 and included Appalachian Stone, Dr. James Bedsole and Hargray. Bee’s Knees sponsored $200 and included Bain & Company CPA, Paula and Bill Hereford, Hill, Gossett, Kemp, Hufford and McSweeny Automotive. Beekeepers contributed $100 and included Dr. David Sawyer, Judge Phil Seay, Tony Hollis, JP Daniel State Farm, Tammie Williams and Sonia Dale. Additionally, special thanks go to Realty Pros, Jay Jenkins, Publix, PCHS Key Club, Ed Tyler, Nicole Carsten and The Literacy Council of Central Alabama.

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