16 March 2018 • ArtsFaculty Spelling Bee Benefits Literacy

The Literacy Volunteers of Ontario and Yates Counties (LVOY) hosted the 16th Annual Adult Spelling Bee at Geneva High School on Sunday, Feb. 11. The annual benefit is a friendly competition between teams of spellers from Ontario and Yates counties. Thirteen teams competed, including two from HWS, along with local businesses, non-profits, public service organizations, schools, churches and book groups.

Director of Annual Giving Ruth Benedict, Professor of Art and Architecture Lara Blanchard and Associate Professor of Classics Leah Himmelhoch placed first while a student team of Alexander Cottrell ’20, Gemyra Greggs ’18 and Gabriella Guevara ’21 won third place in the competition. The HWS teams raised more than $800 for the agency.

“I wanted to participate in the spelling bee after working with America Reads since my first semester on campus,” says Cottrell. “There are adults in our community who need help as well.”

The HWS student team named “Can I Buy a Vowel?” was asked to spell such words as odori, interstrices and mythos. HWS faculty and staff on the “Bee-Plus” team were tricked by the word stridulated but were able to stay in the round after the other team misspelled a word. Benedict, Blanchard and Himmelhoch were competing together for the third time, after winning twice and coming in second once.

“We are so fortunate to have HWS students and professors participate each year,” says LVOY Program Director Donna Cotter. The money raised from the event supports services in Ontario and Yates counties for adult literacy and English tutoring and assistance preparing for the high school equivalency test. LVOY’s mission is to provide adults with the literacy skills needed to reach their full potential as individuals, parents, workers and citizens.

“Literacy is an important cause for us, whether it’s through our students tutoring elementary school children in America Reads, or whether it’s through our support of the Geneva Reads Book Fest, or events like the Spelling Bee.” says Jeremy Wattles, associate director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. Students have participated for the past seven years of the competition.