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War of words to benefit Ozarks Literacy Council

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Area businesses are hoping their efforts spell major money for the Ozarks Literacy Council. The annual Adult Spelling Bee for literacy is coming up.

This year's spelling bee will be at 7 p.m. June 30 and the deadline for team entries is June 23, said Heidi Slone, executive director of the Ozarks Literacy Council.

The event will be preceded by a silent auction and reception at 6 p.m. So far, 12 teams have committed to spelling off for literacy. The registration fee for a team is $500, and all proceeds from the event go to fight illiteracy in the Ozarks. Last year's spelling bee raised $2,500 for the Ozarks Literacy Council, Slone said.

Tickets for the event are $5 and anyone can attend. Tickets are available at the Ozarks Literacy Council office or from any member of the agency's board.

The Ozarks Literacy Council instructs those who cannot read using a group of volunteers who receive training and then tutor individuals. Right now, the agency has about 40 students on a waiting list for volunteer tutors. The agency also has a workplace literacy program and can take on up to 10 workplaces a year, Slone said. The cost for that program is $4,000 and it involves training individuals within the company to tutor others in not only reading, but other basic skills, such as mathematics.

Participating teams this year include Z-Tech, the Marlin Company, Great Southern Bank, NationsBank, Signature Bank, Liberty Bank, Sinclair Financial Group, MCI, Springfield 33, KGBX, and the Springfield Business and Family Journals. Other teams are expected to register as the deadline approaches.

Spellers will be asked to spell words used in the National Spelling Bee this year, and the judges for the event are from the area colleges. Dr. W.D. Blackmon, acting department head in English at Southwest Missouri State University, Dr. Nathan Nelson, associate professor of English at Evangel College, and Dr. Resa Willis, chair of the English department at Drury College, will be the judges.

Teams consist of three spellers and teams will be able to confer before spelling a word. A rehearsal will be held June 23. After that, no more teams may join the spelling bee.

Mark Steines, correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight" and former sports anchor at Springfield 33, will be the emcee, Slone said.

For more information or to enter, please call Heidi Slone at 889-7943.

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