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Spelling bee back on Oct. 8
Popular fundraiser aids literacy efforts
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Forsyth County News

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Registration of three-person teams for Spell Check Live! is ongoing. Cost is $400. The event will be held in the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8. For more information, or to register, call (770_ 876-2011 or e-mail

United Way of Forsyth County is on a mission to defend its title.

As winners of the 2012 Spell Check Live!, the nonprofit organization aims to defend its title during this year’s event on Oct. 8 at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.

“We have participated in every Spell Check Live event from the very first one and it took us a long time to get our first win,” said Ruth Goode, executive director of the organization. “We’ve been runners-up before, but we never had a win. So we’re hoping that we can win again.”

But beyond victory, Goode said the organization will compete in the 14thannual adult spelling bee for the cause — Literacy Forsyth.

“It’s just a great community event for a great cause,” she said. “Literacy is very important to everyone’s success in life, and the spelling bee is just so much fun.”

Annaliza Thomas, executive director of Literacy Forsyth, said preparations are under way.

“Last year, we raised a little over $10,000,” she said. “This year, we raised our goal to be $14,000 and I think we’re hopefully going to meet our goal this year.”

Literacy Forsyth, a nonprofit that works to lift literacy rates in the county by tutoring adults in reading, as well as offering other services, also helps cover the costs of those working toward earning a GED.

At $400 per team to register, Thomas said this event is the “most important and biggest grass-roots effort.”

“It’s a positive way to promote literacy,” she said.

In addition to the spelling, each team trio gets to dress up in costumes, with the potential to earn prizes for their creative collaboration, if not for their word knowledge.

“They almost always change it up. Everyone’s had different costumes every year,” Thomas said.

The fun costumes, however, are just a façade — the competition is fierce, Thomas said.

“The first year that I was here, the spelling bee went on for three and a half hours because we had two teams that just had very good spellers,” Thomas said. “They fought that one out tooth and nail to the end.”

While Goode said the United Way team is hoping for back-to-back wins, it may not pose much of a threat.

“The top teams have always been the library and Lanier Tech. Those seem to be the teams most years to try to beat,” she said.

According to Thomas, some of the more popular entries are those made up of elementary school teachers.

“They get together and put up usually two teams and they invite their classrooms to come and watch them spell,” Thomas said. “They get pretty far ... but I tell you, those librarians, they’re pretty sharp on the spelling.”