By Kelly Doran
The 23rd Adult Spelling Bee, put on by the Literacy Council of Clermont and Brown Counties, brought community members together to support the council and have fun.
All of the money raised goes to operating expenses for the council. In addition to registration fees from the spelling bee, the council also raises money with a silent auction and raffles, said Rose Tepe, a volunteer and president of the Literacy Council board.
The spelling bee raised $9,200 for the event, Tepe said. The spelling bee typically raises about $9,000.
Lunch and all the silent auction items are donated, Tepe said.
In addition, the Miami Township Trustees don’t charge the council to use the room, said Susan Vilardo, executive director.
Currently, the Literacy Council has 35 tutoring pairs. Adults who come to the council for help get one-on-one tutoring with a volunteer, Tepe said. The council also tutors at the University of Cincinnati Clermont College.
The literacy council is always seeking more adult learners and more tutors, Tepe said.
Usually, information about the council is spread to illiterate adults by word of mouth.
Adults usually come to the council because there has been some event in their life that has caused them to decide not to live with being illiterate anymore, said Vilardo.
The self-esteem issue that illiterate adults typically have is the most difficult barrier to break through, Vilardo said. The adult has usually kept it a secret for a long time.
The spelling bee raises awareness that there are adults out there that can’t read, Vilardo said.
“I look at the spelling bee as a time to celebrate the volunteers. The volunteers are the core of what makes our agency grow and evolve,” Vilardo said.
The Clermont County Public Library won third place, the Literacy Council won second and Ohio Means Jobs Clermont County won first place.
Pinebrook Retirement Community won the prize for best spirit.
The Clermont Chamber of Commerce, dressed as hippies, won the prize for best costume. The chamber also won the prize for being the first team out.
This is the first year that the Chamber of Commerce has participated in the spelling bee, President and CEO Matt Van Sant said.
Van Sant wanted to participate and support the literacy council because in the chamber’s Agenda for the Future it discusses lifelong learning and raising awareness, he said.
“We want to share light on this stuff,” Van Sant said.
He was disappointed his team lost on the first round, he said.
Diane McCarty, part of Job and Family Services, which is under Ohio Means Jobs, participated in the spelling bee years ago and then stopped until two years ago, when she participated again and won third place.
Last year McCarty won second with different team members and this year McCarty, Ashley Pope and Stacey Krimmer won first.
The winning word was “habiliments.”
The LEAD Clermont Class of 2015, UC Clermont and a team of community members also participated in the spelling bee.
The spelling bee is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Literacy Council, said Tom Rocklin, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Literacy Council board.
The event is important because it supports the good work that the Literacy Council does and to promote education, Rocklin said.