Optimist Club nabs win


May 04, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

Can you spell rhododendron?

That was the winning word as the Valley's spelling culturati, without dictionary or thesaurus, ran through a gamut of easy and not-so-easy words in the 13th annual community Spelling Bee for Literacy.

There was plenty of uncomplimentary opportunities to display one's fallibility while partaking in the noctivagant event.

The spelling bee was won by the Optimist Club of El Centro, whose membership included a filial relationship. The team's captain was Bob Fischer, and included his 13-year-old daughter, Erika, Dave Crockett and Matt Dessert.

The same team won last year, with the word "warrant."

Fischer, who's been participating in the event since 1989, said the team made no special effort to prepare for the task.


"It was level-four words all the way," he said, referring to the most difficult series of words. "We decided to go big or stay at home."

He said this year's words were the most difficult yet.

Second place went to the Brawley Kiwanis Club, whose members included Lee Hermsmeier as captain, David Gayle, Lisa Bracamonte and Brent Herndon.

Third place went to Soroptimist International of Brawley, with Marjo Mello as captain, Janet Smith, Jean Bishop and Josephine Villero.

The Spelling Bee volunteer projects carried out by the Literacy Volunteers of America/Imperial Valley, whose executive director, Phyllis Colter, said the purpose is two-fold.

"It is to raise awareness of one-in-five adults who do not read to their potential for today's society, and to raise money to support the program," she said.

The event has been sponsored for about 10 years by this newspaper, whose publisher, Dave Leone, said he appreciates and supports the efforts of the Literacy Volunteers to promote reading.

"Literacy is vital to one becoming a better citizen and improving one's quality of life," Leone said, adding from a business sense, this newspaper benefits from increased literacy in the community as well.

Leone also said though there are many spelling bees geared toward children, this one is focused on adults and bringing to light that there are adults who cannot read.

Other spelling teams included Calexico Rotary Club, Centinela State Prison, Chromalloy Southwest, Valley Independent Bank, Soroptimist International of Holtville, Government Agencies Federal Credit Union, Kiwanis Club of El Centro, Desert Valley Library Media Association and the Imperial Irrigation District.

The event was in Ryerson Hall at Desert Trail RV Park in El Centro.

(Those words listed in italics were part of the word list from the spelling bee.)

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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