The 20th Anniversary of the Ron and Mary Maxwell Community Spelling Bee is right around the corner, making this a very lively and exciting time at Mid-State Literacy Council. The Spelling Bee is just one of Mid-State’s special events that gives the community a chance to celebrate literacy and recognize the organization’s goals.
Mary Dupuis, Board of Director’s member, is one of the many people who help to make the Spelling Bee such an enjoyable and successful event. Her recognition of Mid-State as a vital resource is reflected in the past twenty years she has dedicated to the organization. Mary says, “I find working with the council so rewarding because I get to see the success of our work. I hear about and meet students who have actually gained sufficient English to get better jobs. I see the ones who gain citizenship and get full time jobs.”
Mary expressed the importance of the Spelling Bee as a fundraiser. “We rely on fundraisers for almost all our funding for MSLC,” she says. “We get a nice award from the United Way, and some other sources, like AAUW State College. We also charge our students a slight fee. But otherwise, our fundraisers fill in the void, and a large void it is, too.”
The Spelling Bee is a fun and competitive event, with teams working together in this grown-up spelling bee while raising funds for Mid-State Literacy Council. Representing sponsors and spelling for prizes, the event brings our community together for an evening of entertainment and excitement. All are welcome to sponsor, spell, and join the audience to cheer on a favorite team.
Mary not only looks forward to the event every year, but also described it as a rewarding experience. “The most rewarding aspect of the event for me is watching the spelling teams do their thing,” she says. “They are very earnest, try very hard, and are genuinely disappointed when they spell out. The folks from Foxdale are spelling along with the spellers, and they sometimes whisper so loudly that they can be heard down the hall!”
As a nonprofit organization, MSLC relies heavily on the support of the community to sustain its position as a dedicated, productive, and impactful resource. Although fundraisers provide the majority of Mid-State’s revenue, the organization repays the community by equipping its members with the skills needed for priceless opportunities.
Mary strongly believes the community should support events like the Spelling Bee, and Mid-State in general. “We are performing a genuine service to the community,” she says. “Most folks don’t know how many nonnative speakers we have in the community. We have a large and growing community of immigrants from a variety of countries who arrive wanting to work but not having sufficient English to compete for jobs. They are here to make a life for themselves and their families. The ultimate reason for the community to support us, and the Bee, is to help these folks gain the skills necessary to become productive members of the community, as they want to be.”
The Community Spelling Bee will be held April 10, at Foxdale Village Auditorium, at 6:00 pm, with food available for purchase at 5:30 pm. Come out to support Mid-State Literacy Council, strengthen your community, and celebrate literacy!