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Spelling gets red hot Tuesday

March 16, 2012

How do you spell student scholarships for Newton-Conover High School graduates?

N-C-E-F.

And how do you spell classroom grants for teachers in the Newton-Conover City Schools system?

Again, N-C-E-F.

However, without participation in the Red Hot Spelling Bee by community organizations, student teams and businesses, the Newton-Conover Education Foundation — NCEF — can't even begin to spell s-u-p-p-o-r-t for the educational initiatives it supports every year.

Sponsored by The Observer News Enterprise and Outlook, the Red Hot Spelling Bee is one of two annual fund-raisers NCEF organizes each year.

"This is a fun, family night of entertainment and vocabulary," said NCEF Chair Debbie Bandy.

This year's Red Hot Spelling Bee is set for Tuesday night at Newton-Conover High School. A reception begins at 6:30 p.m. and the spelling fun starts at 7 p.m.

The event allows four-member teams to cooperatively spell words delivered by this year's annunciator, Francis Whitener, the choral teacher for NCHS and Newton-Conover Middle School as well as a former language arts teacher. In addition to the team spelling effort, when spellers misfire a $10 buy-back keeps the competitors in contention.

Team registration is encouraged by the end of the day Monday, Bandy said, and registration forms are available at the N-CCS administrative offices and at The O-N-E headquarters in Newton. Teams registering on the night of the bee won't be turned away, Bandy added, and spectators are definitely encouraged.

"People can come and attend and cheer on the teams," she said. "They can support a team by purchasing a buyback pass, which allows a team to stay in an extra round, for $10."

Cost to register a team is $100, and last year the event raised $2,000 as 18 teams competed.

So far this year, only 10 teams have registered to participate. Proceeds from the fundraiser go toward student scholarships and classroom grants.

"Last year, we gave scholarships to three students attending college," Bandy said.

"Earlier this year we awarded a grant to South Newton Elementary School for NOOKs in the classroom. They were able to start a reading program where students were able to have greater access to technology and reading through innovative ways."

In addition to title sponsors The O-N-E and OUTLOOK, the Red Hot Spelling Bee is sponsored by Newton Family Physicians, Food Lion, Geppeto's, Dianne's Dairy Center and Papa John's.

To register a team or make a donation to NCEF, contact Bandy at 464-4870 or 446-6594 or contact Michael Willard at The O-N-E, 464-0221.

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