09/30/10 — Chamber looking for top spellers

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Chamber looking for top spellers

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 30, 2010 1:46 PM

The Extreme Spelling Bee continues to expand efforts to raise money to support education.

This is the eighth year for the event, which has raised more than $132,000 in grants for teachers, said Janet Brock of the Chamber of Commerce. It will be held Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. at Lane Tree Country Club.

Unlike traditional spelling bees, the annual competition teams up local educators and business sponsors to raise funds that will be used for classroom mini-grants, teacher recruitment and incentive packages and support the Junior Leadership program.

"It was changed to Extreme Bee and we named the bee 'Buzz Honeycutt' last year through a contest with the schools," Ms. Brock explained. "WEN -- Wayne Education Network -- also started up last year, when the Chamber's Education Committee was revamped.

"We do a lot more with teacher recruitment, have a teacher job fair, introduced a teacher welcome breakfast, added a countywide middle school career fair for all seventh-graders last year."

From the inception, teams were comprised of representatives from area schools. That has gradually changed, as area businesses entered their own teams and private schools also became involved.

Teams raise their own money in advance, using it to purchase a word if they cannot come up with the correct spelling. When their pot is empty, the team becomes a victim of the "Killer Bee," eliminating them from a chance at the title of Best Speller in the county.

Several new twists have been added this year, Ms. Brock said.

"The prizes in the past, we have never given prize money of any kind," she said. "This year we're going to give the winning team a $500 grant, which means that if they're not a school, they need to pick a school for the grant to go to.

"We will also have a $250 grant prize to the best team spirit and $250 grant for the best theme. Both of those, also, will go to the school the team represents, or the school chosen by the team."

A contest is also being planned for area students to participate in, with details to be announced, but Ms. Brock gave a few hints.

Students will be encouraged to "Build a Bee" out of a plastic bottle, with winning entries to be chosen from elementary, middle and high school levels. Three winners will each receive a $50 gift certificate to Books-A-Million, Ms. Brock said.

For more information on the upcoming fundraiser or to register a team, call 734-2241.