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DeKalb County spelling bee set for today to support literacy programs

SYCAMORE – Dictionaries will be dusted off as the 13th annual DeKalb County Community Spelling Bee is set to take place today.

The event, which serves as DeKalb/Sycamore Altrusa International’s largest annual fundraiser, will begin at 7 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church Activity Center in Sycamore and raises money to fight illiteracy and provide schools and local programs with reading supplies.

Last year’s event raised more than $10,000, said organizer Karen Hagen, and was divided among Altrusa, the Daily Chronicle’s Newspapers in Education program and the DeKalb County Community Foundation.

“The more people we can get to come to the event, the more successful it is,” Hagen said. “We have a good community that supports a lot of different things.”

Sixteen teams representing different local organizations will compete for the title of best spellers, but their supporters also will play a big role in aiding local literacy programs, Hagen said.

Admission to the event is $3 for adults, who also will have a chance to win raffle prizes throughout the competition. All of those proceeds will go toward the literacy programs.

Hagen said students who come out to cheer on their teams, such as the two squads from Kishwaukee College, would have free entry. The two teams with the most “cheerleaders” will win a pizza party.

Rosemarie Ostberg, an event coordinator, said the event is a fun, inexpensive evening for families who can also play along with the competition by filling out sheets while teams attempt to spell their words.

Ostberg said she is a strong speller, but usually falls out about four rounds before
the end because of the difficulty.

“It really is a fight down to the finish,” she said. “But it is a fun night and everyone has a good time.”

Doors open at 6 p.m. to give people a chance to see the prizes available during the raffles and enjoy light refreshments.

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