Brain Power Fundraiser

by Jun 6, 2024Events, Online Exclusives, South Brunswick

Brunswick Literacy Council held its 34th annual Adult Spelling Bee to fund its mission of helping adult students with literacy skills.

Virginia Brown of St. James Plantation and Gary Grabowski of Longs, South Carolina, the Anchor Pollinators, won the first-place trophy at the Brunswick County Literacy Council’s 34th annual Adult Spelling Bee. The team spelled “bourgeoisie,” which refers to the middle class, to earn the honor, surpassing 12 other teams.

“She pulled us through,” Grabowski said and added that he did not study for the competition held May 21.

“I did nothing to prepare,” Brown said. “All my life I’ve loved words and taught English for 38 years, so that’s where success comes from. I love that the Bee helps the Literacy Council in their work.”

Anchor Baptist Church in Little River, South Carolina, sponsored the team and will display the trophy until the 2025 competition.

Adult Spelling Bee Winners

Nancy Boston of Leland and Howard Lepovetsky of Calabash spelled “mendicancy,” which means begging as for alms, but then misspelled “lachrymose,” which means shedding tears or being mournful, to give them second place honors and take home the Gene and Judy Vasile trophy. They did not choose a specific team name, but their sponsor was the Shallotte Rotary Club. As members they will bring the trophy to the next club meeting.

Boston said she was in the competition once before with a different teammate. “We didn’t do as well as we did tonight,” she said.

Both teams had misspelled “gnathonic,” which means fawning or sycophantic, after spelling eight words correctly.

Adult Spelling Bee Runner Up

The team of Pat Linnell and Ryan Powers came in third, although they did not win a prize. They misspelled “demarche,” a formal procedure or maneuver or formal appeal or protest. Linnell and Powers are agents at ASAP Realty in Ocean Isle Beach, their sponsor.

Other prizes were given to teams dressed in costumes. Tied for best costumes were Dunestruck Divas Heather LaMora and Caron Myers, whose sponsor was Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, and Speech Bees Joan Hanlon Morris and Meagan Gore-Herring, whose sponsor was Speech Solutions, Inc.

“We’re divas,” said Myers with a laugh as she straightened the feather in her hat.

“We’re speech therapists, and we decided to combine speech with bees,” Morris said. She googled “homemade bee costumes,” and the team devised their clever attire. The Dunestruck Divas also won for having the most enthusiastic cheering section. The pair each received a $50 gift card from La Cucina restaurant in Sunset Beach.

Brunswick County Literacy Council holds the Adult Spelling Bee each year at Brunswick Community College’s Odell Williamson Auditorium in Bolivia.

Masters of Ceremonies were Kim Loucks and his wife Carolyn Hirst-Loucks, long-time literacy council volunteers.

Adult Spelling Bee Brunswick NC

“We’re here to raise literacy awareness and generate much-needed revenue for the Literacy Council — and have a bunch of fun,” Loucks said.

The pair welcomed everyone and introduced Richard Skorny, president of the council board, who explained the council teaches adult literacy, English as a second language, financial literacy and work skills. It offers citizenship classes, has a prison program and prepares students to get their General Equivalency Diploma.

“We concentrate on one-on-one coaching,” he said. “Some instructors have become life coaches for their students. They are truly dedicated teachers. We celebrate every time someone passes their test. We try to help with the life skills they need.”

“We are excited that this is our 34th annual Bee,” said Melissa Warren, executive director of the council. “We have dedicated, faithful sponsors who support our mission, 13 teams vying for the championship and over 100 silent auction items. We are so grateful to the community for its support.”

Dylan Phillips, editor of the Brunswick Beacon and BCLC board member, pronounced the words for each team. Gene Steadman was the timekeeper, and Eileen Farrell facilitated the proceedings. Judges were Sheriff Brian Chism, Linda Stinson of RLS Focused Solutions and Louis Washington, past BCLC board president.

BCC Adult Spelling Bee

Among the silent auction items were baskets of toys for children, handmade pillows, private wine classes, spa treatments and gift cards.

An attraction added this year was the wine pull. For $20 participants picked a wine cork from a bag. The number on the cork corresponded to a closed bag containing a bottle of wine. The value of the wines ranged from $20 to $100, thus it was no loss for those choosing a bottle.

“All donations directly benefit adult students and assist them on their journey to become more literate and become contributing members of society,” Loucks said.

For More Information:
Brunswick County Literacy Council
282 Ocean Highway E, Supply
(910) 754-7323