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Grown-Up Spelling Bee at South Shore Plaza to raise money for Braintree education

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  October 7, 2011 08:54 AM

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The Braintree Rotary Club and the South Shore Plaza are gearing up for their third annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee, an event to raise money for local education and literacy programs.

The scene is one that conjures up memories of middle school days, but unlike the familiar spoken spellings, these spelling bees are done in writing.

Approximately 24, four-member teams will spread out at tables on a stage in the middle of the mall on Saturday, Oct. 22. Facing off in rounds, they spell the difficult words out on the whiteboard provided to each team.

Also unlike middle school spelling bees, one misspelled word won’t automatically get you eliminated. Teams can purchase extra chances such as “free turns” and “try again.”

Those extra-chance purchases, along with entry fees and advertising in the spelling bee's program and banners, generate money at the fund-raiser.

A panel of judges, made up of local officials and dignitaries – including even Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan in years past – will determine the winners of each round.

It’s a team-oriented event that brings out Braintree politicians, charities, even fun-loving families, and is one that organizers are hoping will be as successful this year as in years past.

“South Shore Plaza is looking forward to hosting the Rotary Club’s Great Grown-up Spelling Bee again this year,” said the mall's marketing director, Vicki Bartkiewicz. “We were so encouraged by the enthusiasm and success of last year’s event that we started planning the 2011 Bee only a few days after last year’s event. We are happy to be a part of the community’s efforts to support local education.”

Braintree Rotary’s president-elect, Therese Nicklas, who has been a Rotary member for 10 years and is organizing this year’s event, said that as money becomes tight for many schools and organizations, this fund-raiser can help supplement trim budgets.

“One hundred percent of the money raised goes to support our community and education projects, like scholarships for high school seniors, dictionaries and thesauruses for Braintree students through our Literacy Project, sponsorships for youth sports, social events for the elderly, and beautification in our neighborhoods,” she said.

Her goal, she said, is to surpass last year’s total raised, which reached $24,000. “By doing so – [we can] fund more community projects,” she said.

In the past, money has gone to high school seniors, youth sports, music and art programs, senior citizen events and other charitable causes, organizers said.

Despite the increased need of the local community, Nicklas said that it is evident, especially with events like these, that the community and Rotary Club have a strong commitment to “service above self.”

“We have a great organization whose efforts provide humanitarian service to our local community and fund projects throughout the world. It’s a lot of work – but it’s also a lot of fun,” she said.

Positions fill on a first come, first serve basis, and if last year is a testament to the program’s popularity, applicants should register early Nicklas said. Singles can also register this year, as there have been sponsors for teams yet not enough applicants.

For further information about the Great Grown-up Spelling Bee or Rotary’s local efforts in general, please contact Therese Nicklas at 781-413-1090.

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