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Grate Grown-Up Spelling Bee fundraises and brings awareness to adult literacy

April 27, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Spelling a word sounds easy until you are on stage in front of many people, and suddenly a little-used word that may be a challenge comes up.

The Grate Grown-Up Spelling Bee returned this year after a three-year hiatus and challenged teams of three adults to get up on stage and compete in a traditional spelling bee.

Next Step Literacy in Alliston hosted the event, which acts as a fundraiser that also brings awareness to their mission in the community – adult learning.

It was held at the Club at Bond Head on Saturday, April 15. 

It was a fun event with spelling bee teams dressed in themed costumes, and prizes were won for Best Costume, Most Team Spirit, and Best Spellers.

Everyone who attended also took part in the Play-at-the-Table round, where the entire room was given words to spell.

The event provided a fun opportunity to compete in a spelling bee and helped raise money for Next Step Literacy.

“Next Step offers free adult tutoring in reading, writing, math, and computers,” explained Next Step Literacy executive director Shira Harrison McIntyre. “We have lots of people who may have finished high school, but that was a long time ago and now they want to do something else. For example, people who are finishing their Canadian Forces Aptitude Test, fire fighters exam, police services exam, or border control exam – there’s math components or reading and writing components that they haven’t [been] used for a while. We also have people who struggle with literacy. They just want to be better readers.”

Some people manage to graduate high school without being fully literate. Next Step helps them through one-on-one tutoring so they can improve their skills.

Many jobs require math skills that may have been taught in school, but after not using those skills for a while, they are easy to forget.

“If someone is doing an apprenticeship course like carpentry or an electrician, there’s a math component to that,” Shira explained. “If you haven’t studied math in 20 years, or even if you did study math or didn’t complete Grade 12, or didn’t do very well, people need to brush up on those skills or need to learn them so they can pass those tests and be confident on the job.”

The free one-on-one tutoring provides an opportunity to learn these skills so people have more job opportunities and enhanced social skills.

The honorary chair for this year’s event was Terry Fallis, two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.

All funds raised at the event support free adult tutoring at Next Step Literacy in Alliston.

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