“The coming together of two or more things to the same point.” (Merriam-Webster online)
For 30 years, this community has been converging for a special event, the Cape Fear Literacy Council (CFLC) Spelling Bee. Businesses, Rotary clubs, nonprofit groups and others who love words (logophiles) come together for a night of entertainment and intellectual challenge, a celebration of the power of words.
At the Bee, teams of four adults work together and spell words that are increasingly difficult. This year, there is a new format: there will be no elimination for an incorrect spelling, but teams only accrue points if they spell words accurately. All teams’ scores will be tracked on a “leaderboard.” And, of course, the team with the most points wins.
The prize, in addition to serious bragging rights, is being able to display the gigantic Spelling Bee trophy until next year’s contest. A few teams have held that honor more often than others, notably the Wilmington Cape Fear Rotary Club and the Friends of New Hanover County Public Library.
In recent years, Wilmington Rotary Club has secured a couple of victories, and employees of the Port City Java on Market Street and the International Paper Mill in Riegelwood have also earned the top prize.
The Bee is a fun event, with Masters of Ceremonies Frances Weller from WECT and Si Cantwell from the StarNews. It brings together a wide range of companies and organizations who want to enjoy a little healthy competition and flex their cerebral skills.
Most importantly, the Bee is a fundraiser, providing unrestricted dollars to Cape Fear Literacy Council, a local nonprofit that makes words accessible to all adults. CFLC serves about 500 adult learners each year, from those who have almost no formal education to those who need to brush up in a particular area, like writing or math, to get a job or enter community college.
The Literacy Council leverages the talents of volunteers to meet the needs of students. CFLC provides excellent training, research-based curricula leveled for each learner, and support for both students and tutors throughout the process. CFLC has been serving this community for 33 years, and the Bee has been a signature event for 30 of them.
In addition to the word competition, the Bee will feature light snacks, a cash bar and prizes for the best costume, best team name and best cheering section.
So, whether you want to sponsor a team or help earn the award for cheering, please become part of this community event. Converge for Cape Fear Literacy Council’s 30th Spelling Bee on Thursday, April 26 at the Terraces on Sir Tyler, starting at 7 p.m.
For more information, please visit www.cfliteracy.org or call (910) 251-0911.
Yasmin Tomkinson came to the Cape Fear Literacy Council as a volunteer tutor in 2002. It was a great experience, and she was very pleased to join the staff in 2004. She is now the Executive Director and enjoys working with adult learners and the volunteers who help them reach their goals. Yasmin studied Education and American History at Vassar College and got an MBA with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from Boston University. She worked for education-focused non-profits in rural Utah, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Boston before moving to Wilmington.
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