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Chamber increasing scholarships from one to four

The Lincolnton/Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce has increased the number of scholarships given for 2006 from the proceeds of the annual adult spelling bee.
Starting next year, the chamber will give out four scholarships — one to each Lincoln County high school — instead of just one scholarship covering four schools.
“The adult spelling bee is open to everyone in the community, whether chamber member or not,” said chamber president Ken Kindley. “The scholarships will now be $1,000 each instead of one scholarship at $1,500.”
The 2006 event will be held at 7 p.m. March 28 at the James W. Warren Citizens Center in Lincolnton.
The suggestion to increase the number of scholarships came from the 2006 chamber chairman, Brad Rivers.
“When we say community, we’re talking about the entire county,” said Rivers. “It’s a way for the chamber to enhance the quality of life in Lincoln County and bring all parts of the county together in the spelling bee.”
The proceeds from the event are split down the middle between the educational foundation and the chamber according to Kindley.
“The chamber uses 75 percent of our share of the proceeds for the scholarships,” said Kindley. “The other 25 percent goes to chamber operating expenses.”
Dr. Jim Watson, superintendent of Lincoln County Schools, said the educational foundation’s share goes for technologies in the system.
“The proceeds will fund mini-grants for the technologies,” said Watson. “I’m really pleased that the chamber is taking this major step, going to four scholarships.”
Stephen Starnes is the subcommittee chairman for the 2006 adult spelling bee.
“The perception of a spelling bee is generally negative and this isn’t the case,” he said. “We try to make the event fun for the adults participating and the students who will benefit.”
Starnes added the 2006 adult spelling bee will be the 9th annual event.
“Not only does this event give us the opportunity to partner with the school system, we get to also network with each other,” said Starnes.
Fliers for the event will be mailed out to chamber members the first part of February.
Becky Weaver, the office manager for Griffin Buick/Pontiac/GMC Truck, said she looks forward every year to the spelling bee.
“We absolutely love it,” said Weaver. “We’ve done the spelling bee for the past four or five years.”
She added that what makes the event special is the people that participate in the spelling bee.
“When you walk in, you hear all the chatter and excitement, laugh and have a good time,” she said. “The camaraderie amongst the people is incredible and it’s everybody having to work together. We look forward to the spelling bee every year.”
The cost to sponsor a team is $100 and can be a combination of employees, friends, family or students.
Instead of standing to spell a word, each team determines the correct spelling and writes that spelling once for the judges.
For each word any team misspells, they can buy that particular word for $25 during the first three rounds.
“A business may choose to sponsor one of the four competition levels, which are easy, intermediate, difficult and challenge,” said Kindley. “Sentences throughout that level will feature the business name.”
In the 2005 contest, 34 teams of four people each competed. The winner was the Lincolnton Rotary Club.
“We raised $12,000 this past year,” said Kindley. “That was the most money we’ve ever raised in the spelling bee.”
The scholarships will be awarded in May at the annual academic achievement awards banquet that will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday May 8 at the James Warren Citizens Center.

For more information on or to become a sponsor of the 2006 adult spelling bee, call the Lincolnton/Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce at (704) 735-3096.
by Jon Mayhew

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