September 26, 2018

Index-Journal: 4th annual spelling bee raises thousands for Healthy Learners

Adults from Greenwood, South Carolina, showed off their spelling skills at the fourth annual Greenwood Friends of Healthy Learners Spelling Bee September 25. The event was expected to raise more than $40,000 for the Healthy Learners Greenwood program.

The Index-Journal published an article about the event. The full text of the article is below or available here.

C-H-A-R-I-T-Y: 4th annual spelling bee raises thousands for Healthy Learners

By Adam Benson
For a group of 200 intrepid Greenwood spellers, the evening began simply enough, with words such as “gourmet,” “khaki” and “alibi” served up as openers.
But trouble arose early on during the fourth annual Friends of Healthy Learners Adult Spelling Bee at Emerald High School, with the confounding second “m” in “accommodate” drawing early groans and forehead slaps.
In an age of red squiggly lines and autocorrect functions on smartphones, even the simplest words can cause second-guessing among teachers, religious leaders, bankers and others who took part.
But it’s all for a good cause, with proceeds from the competition going to support Healthy Learners, a faith-based nonprofit that connects Greenwood County students with health care to improve their academic performance.
As the organization’s only fundraiser, the spelling bee plays an important role in allowing that programming to continue. Officials raised $39,000 last year and hoped to top the $40,000 mark in 2018.
“We don’t do books, we don’t do food. Our mission is to remove children’s health barriers to learning,” said Becky McIntosh, fund development coordinator. In 2017, Healthy Learners saw 250 people that totaled 1,000 service calls, from dentist appointments to vision tests.
But the real test Tuesday was on paper, and as the night wore on, so too did the challenge. Teams peeled off over the 90-minute contest, with words such as “petechiae,” “dachshund” and “thalassic” tripping them up.
By the time organizers reached their final word, “suffrutescent,” just three out of 61 teams remained: Ware Shoals District 51, First Baptist Church and representatives from the Links at Stoney Point’s Bermuda’s Restaurant.
Out of the 42 words offered on Tuesday, the Ware Shoals educators missed just three — good enough to take top position, followed by the church and Stoney Point.
Ware Shoals also won in 2016.
Healthy Learners is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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