The Future Begins Today takes annual spelling ‘Bee for Literacy’


By Kathleen Leese

For Miami Valley Today

TROY — The Future Begins Today won the 29th Annual Bee for Literacy: A Corporate Challenge, held at the Duke Lundgard Building at the Miami County Fairgrounds and sponsored by Altrusa International of Troy. Over 200 attended to have lunch and watch the Spelling Bee on Thursday, March 21.

The Future Begins Today won with the word ‘chrysanthemum,’ in which eight teams competed for the rights to the traveling trophy. Gifts and crocheted bees were presented to the winners. The competition raises money for educational grants.

The Future Begins Today team, which has been providing support to Troy students for 25 years, was sponsored by Tracey Smith, Keller Williams Home Town Realty. The team included Lori Burch-Younce, Katie Clevenger and Madelynn Long. The alternate was Matt Clevenger.

Second place went to Edison State Community College, which was sponsored by the Edison Foundation. Serving on their team were Lisa Hoops, Sharon Thomas and Chris Spradlin, with alternate Andrea Francis.

Taking third place was the Troy High School ASTRA Club, sponsored by Park National Bank. Their team featured Troy students Jennifer Limke, Ashleigh Nosker, Allison Unger and alternate Tatyana Green.

During the multi-round competition, Troy City Schools, sponsored by Erwin Chrysler Jeep Ram, fell to the bell first after competitor David Fong incorrectly spelled the word ‘conciliatory.’ They were presented with wind spinners for coming in last place. Joining Fong in representing Troy City Schools was Danielle Romine, Randy Walters and alternate Megan Campbell.

Other teams participating were Kettering Health, Troy, who provided their own sponsorship. Serving on their team were Michael Brendel, Michael Gentry, Jennifer Sherman and alternate Christie Hatton.

Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, sponsored by Hayner Distilling, participated with a team including Rachael Boezi, Leona Sargent, Diane Wooley and alternate Jim Wilmath.

Troy High School Interact Club, sponsored by Troy Rotary, included team members Cooper Dues, Bryce Massingill and Parker Nichols.

Troy-Miami County Public Library, sponsored by Troy Literacy Council, Inc., was represented by Megan Bradshaw, Angelyn Hellman and Alexander Dyke.

Winning the Spirit Award for their exceptional ability to support their spelling team was the Troy High School ASTRA Club.

Scripps National Spelling Bee provided the spelling words for the contestants.

Former Troy Mayor Mike Beamish, a retired teacher and school administrator, acted as master of ceremonies for the event. A luncheon was supplied by Robert Besecker, Stillwater Valley Catering, while Allison Davies and Tim Hortons donated coffee for the event. Jan Hamman provided signage.

Carrie Slater, Assistant Director of Recreation for the City of Troy, pronounced the words, providing definitions and using the words in sentences in an attempt to help the spellers.

Head judge for the spelling bee was Kathi Roetter, executive director of Troy Area Chamber of Commerce. Judges were Myrna Yoder, a retired teacher, ESC spelling champion and director of FISH of Troy and Wade Westfall, Miami County commissioner, who is owner and operator of Westfall Investment Properties/Four Sons Development LLC.

The Time Keeper was Shane Carter, executive director of the Lincoln Community Center.

A silent auction was held during the event, with Tami Baird Ganley announcing the winners.

Patrons for the event in the “honey” category included Edward Jones, Bill Wolke; Excellence in Dentistry; KSM Metal Fabrication; Carole Kerber; Mercer Group Inc., Ted Mercer; Metronet Fiber Internet; Minster Bank; Therapeutic Intervention; Troy Area Chamber of Commerce; the Troy Foundation; Turnstone Financial, Tom Kleptz; and Upper Valley Hearing and Balance Inc.

Patrons in the “pollen” category included Baird Funeral Home, Alan Ganley; Candace Goodall; Minnich Brothers Inc.; Myrle Briggs; Barb Redick; Sunset Cleaners; and Upper Valley Career Center.

Amy Dawson and Glenna Rinehart acted as spelling co-chairs.

Mike Caldwell, of Audio Productions, provided sound for the event and Sandra Ehrlich, president of Altrusa, Troy, welcomed the crowd while Ginny Beamish, first vice-president, Altrusa, Troy, offered the invocation.

The annual Altrusa Corporate Spelling Bee provides grants to area educators. Last year’s spelling bee raised $4,967.32.

Altrusa International of Troy is a non-profit service organization. They are committed to community service with a focus on promoting literacy. All profits from the spelling bee fund literacy projects in Miami County.

Next year’s spelling bee will be held on March 25, 2025.

Those interested in Altrusa or the Corporate Challenge Spelling Bee, can contact Janet Rhodes at [email protected] for more information.

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