Read to Succeed Spelling Bee: Nov. 13

One thing is for sure about Read To Succeed’s Celebrity Bee coming up on November 13: it’s hard to predict a winner.

The sixth Read To Succeed Celebrity Bee will welcome 14 new spellers to the stage to compete for the title of 2012 Celebrity Bee Champion. The winner also receives an Excursion Dinner at Bonefish Grille (with countless courses) that is incentive enough to brush up on your spelling skills beforehand. 


“It’s always a fun night,” says Leslie Akins, Bee co-chair and past speller. “And not only do we get to enjoy ourselves and watch these local celebrities relive the spelling bees from their middle school years, we know that we’re also raising awareness about the importance of literacy.”

And it’s a cause near and dear to the participating celebrities’ hearts. Dunk Eastham, from Tennessee Pediatrics, says that he decided to spell at the Bee because literacy is “fundamental” for individual and societal success.

Don Clayton, from Ingram Books, says that the issue is “critically important.”

“[Literacy matters] both for children, where it determines success or failure in school,” he says, “and for adults where the ability to read and write translates directly into employment opportunities and self-sufficiency.”

Other spellers this year include Joey Peay from Murfreesboro Medical Clinic, Mitchell Mote, with University of Tennessee’s Agricultural Extension Service, Dan Whittle of the Murfreesboro Post, Mary Moss, with Women's Health Specialists, Whit Turnbow, MTSU’s head golf coach, 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 Brennan, from Nissan North America, Cynthia Stroburg, with StoneCrest Hospital, Steve Peterson, retired MTSU baseball coach, Jewel Tankard, from Destiny Center Church, and Tina Patel, from Merck Vaccines.

WGNS’ Bart Walker will be the pronouncer, with Diane Mackey, Gloria LaRoche, and John Rodgers judging.

Patel—whose husband, Middle Tennessee Medical Clinic’s Utpal Patel, spelled two years ago—says she’s been preparing for the Bee by having her nine-year-old daughter quiz her with words from school.

The spellers will need the practice: the Bee is only three weeks away. Purchase your tickets to the Celebrity Bee and Celebrity “Buzz” Dinner by Macaroni Grill online at celebritybee.readtosucceed.org or by sending a check to Read To Succeed, PO Box 12161, Murfreesboro, TN 37129. The sixth annual Celebrity Bee will be held at Patterson Park Community Center, with the Celebrity “Buzz” Dinner starting at 6 p.m. and the Bee beginning at 7 p.m.

Even if you can’t attend the Celebrity Bee, supporting your favorite Celebrity Speller is as easy as making a $5 donation to Read To Succeed. A group of friends or co-workers can each contribute $5 and raise enough money to purchase books and materials for a learner in Read To Succeed’s one-on-one adult tutoring program. Each dollar raised stays in Rutherford County and provides books, materials, training supplies, and literacy promotion for Read To Succeed’s family and adult literacy programs, as well as necessary operational expenses. Consider organizing a group of supporters from your work, family, church, civic or book group. Check out celebritybee.readtosucceed.org.

Community generosity—with in-kind donations this year from Macaroni Grill and financial sponsorships at the $5,000 level for the Bee from Kious, Rodgers, Barger, Holder, Kious, PLLC, and Nissan of North America, Inc. and the $2,500 level from AT&T, the Adams-Coggin Family Foundation, Jennings & Rebecca Jones Foundation, and Middle Tennessee Medical Center—has allowed Read To Succeed to expand programming and services each year.

To read more about why these spellers are committed to promoting literacy and for more information on the Celebrity Bee and Read To Succeed, visitcelebritybee.readtosucceed.org.

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