Say bye-bye to spell check: the seventh annual Celebrity Bee is upon us. On November 13, fifteen local celebrities will take the stage at Patterson Park Community Center in Murfreesboro to compete for the title of 2012 Spelling Champion. The event is local literacy non-profit Read To Succeed’s only fundraiser throughout the year, raising essential funds for an adult tutoring program, in-school family literacy programs, ESL classes, and dozens of other events in the community aimed at promoting reading.
Read To Succeed Executive Director Lisa Mitchell says that when Read To Succeed decided to do an annual fundraiser six years ago, they wanted it to be something that supported the organization’s mission.
“When we came up with the idea for the Bee,” Mitchell says, “we struck gold. Not only do we raise funds for Read To Succeed, we get to put our mission in the hands of some of our community’s most notable residents. We always said: If the mayor is willing to risk public humiliation and spell in public, then literacy must be important. And, to top it all off, we get to spend a fun, laid-back, often hilarious night with our supporters, Board and council members, all rallying around our mission.”
Two Celebrity Bee Champion Sponsors have already stepped up to support literacy at the $5,000 level: local law firm Kious, Rodgers, Barger, & Holder and Nissan North America Inc.
This year’s spellers are sure to put on a good show on November 13. Spellers include Joey Peay from Murfreesboro Medical Clinic, Mitchell Mote, with University of Tennessee’s Agricultural Extension Service, Dan Whittle of the Murfreesboro Post, Tina Patel, from Merck Pharmaceuticals, Mary Moss, with Women's Health Specialists, Whit Turnbow, MTSU’s head golf coach, Don Clayton, from Ingram Books, Tom Vance, from First National Bank, John Pittard kindergarten teacher Jennifer Polk Whitlow, LeAnne Duffey, veterinarian and owner of Southern Veterinary Center in Smyrna, Susan Brennen, from Nissan North America, Dunk Eastman, with Tennessee Pediatrics, Cynthia Stroburg, with StoneCrest Hospital, Steve Peterson, retired MTSU baseball coach, and Jewel Tankard, from Destiny Church.
WGNS’ Bart Walker will be the pronouncer, with Diane Mackey, Gloria LaRoche, and John Rodgers judging.
“The Bee is an opportunity to raise awareness and funds to promote literacy, which affects everyone,” says Leslie Akins, co-chair for this year’s Bee. “We have 15 terrific spellers who represent our growing community here in Rutherford County. And I love to see my friends ‘relive’ their childhood memories of elementary school spelling bees!”
Tickets to the Bee and the Celebrity “Buzz” Dinner by Macaroni Grill are $50 per person and can be purchased online atcelebritybee.readtosucceed.org or by mailing a check to Read To Succeed, PO Box 12161, Murfreesboro TN, 37129. Donations of any size are encouraged in honor of any of the spellers, even if you cannot attend the Bee. A $20 donation, Mitchell says, can help purchase up to five new books for students in Read To Succeed’s family literacy programs.
“Everyone wants a strong community and improved literacy improves all of your lives,” Mitchell says. “By supporting Read To Succeed through the Celebrity Bee, you are helping expand programs and helping us reach more people who need our services.”
Akins, who also competed in last year’s All-Star Celebrity Bee, agrees. A well-educated community, she says, is a desirable community for everyone.
“Try to go one day or one hour without reading anything, no instructions, no news, no books, no signs, and you will realize how vital it is to financially support Read To Succeed’s efforts to promote literacy for all.”
For more information on the Celebrity Spelling Bee, to donate and/or to purchase tickets, visitswww.readtosucceed.org or call 615-738-7323.
Read To Succeed, the community literacy collaborative in Rutherford County, will promote reading, with an emphasis on family literacy. This non-profit initiative supports literacy programs and fosters awareness of the importance of reading.