October 6, 2016

Healthy Learners holds spelling bee fundraiser

Adults from Greenwood, South Carolina, displayed their spelling skills at the second annual Greenwood Friends of Healthy Learners Spelling Bee September 27. The event raised more than $25,000 for the Healthy Learners Greenwood program. Healthy Learners is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

The article below appeared in the Index-Journal.

Adult spelling bee raises money for charity

"Psoriasis."

The word sent a shock wave of groans and laughter through the gym of Emerald High School, where 49 teams from organizations across Greenwood County gathered for the second Friends of the Healthy Learners Spelling Bee on Tuesday night.

The event raised about $25,000 for the Healthy Learners, which provides access to medical care for children in need.

Becky McIntosh, the fund development coordinator for Friends of the Healthy Learners, said the event's success speaks to the generosity of Greenwood County residents.

"I'm just so proud of the Greenwood County community. I'm so proud to have this kind of a turn out just because people want to give and help," McIntosh said.

Teams paid $200 to enter the competition and could pay $20 to buy back in if they missed a word up until the fourth and final round.

The event raised awareness and funds for Healthy Learners, McIntosh said.

"Healthy Learners is a small nonprofit, and through this event I think a lot of people have learned about Healthy Learners," McIntosh said.

Organizations represented by teams in the spelling bee included schools, businesses and nonprofits.

"Every school in (Greenwood County School) District 50 has at least one team," McIntosh said. "And then there's community teams, which is anyone whose interested. We have churches, we have industries, banks, car dealerships, nonprofits. The whole community responds to this event and that makes it so dynamic."

Thirteen more organizations participated in this year's spelling bee than in 2015, McIntosh said, and the funds raised increased to $25,000 from about $18,000.

Greenwood County School District 51 took first place, which earned the team a trophy and dinner certificates. The Humane Society of Greenwood took second and Springfield Elementary took third.

"We participated last year and had a great time and it's a worthy cause," said Fay Sprouse, District 51 superintendent. "Healthy Learners helps the kids in our district and it just feels great to be a part of it."

The enunciator, Monique Sacay Bagwell, read words and definitions to the competitors and used the words in a sentence.

State Sen. Floyd Nicholson was master of ceremonies and District 50 board chairman Shell Dula timed spellers.

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