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Literacy Center honors The Rapidian at its annual BeeDazzling Spellebration

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By Lindsay McHolme, Community Literacy Liaison

The Literacy Center of West Michigan presented awards to exceptional students, tutors and partners at its annual BeeDazzling Spellebration event on March 10. The Marshall Pitler Public Relations Award went to Laurie Cirivello and Denise Cheng of The Rapidian. The BeeDazzling Spellebration event is a combination of an awards ceremony, speed spelling bee, and fundraiser. This year, the event raised over $30,000 for adult and family literacy.

The Rapidian received the award because of their help providing training and support to the Literacy Center staff by writing about student successes, sharing literacy updates and posting Literacy Center events on the calendar. The Adult Tutoring Program, a program that matches volunteer tutors with literacy students, is in need of tutor recruitment tools, as there are about 50-100 students waiting for instruction. The Rapidian has been a venue for recruiting much needed volunteers for this program. Perhaps most importantly, since 21% of adults in Grand Rapids are considered functionally illiterate, The Rapidian's Nonprofit Neighbors page has assisted the Literacy Center in spreading the word about literacy needs and progress in the community.

The BeeDazzling Spellebration would not be the same without the speed spelling bee. The bee consists of three rounds where each team of two members spells as many words as possible within a time limit. A panel of judges tallies the scores as the teams spell. This year, seven teams clad in silly hats competed for the grand prize. The team from the Grand Rapids Press, decked out in hats made from folded newspapers and cheered on by its spirited entourage of co-workers, won first place. Second place went to the Kent District Library’s team and third place went to PNC Bank’s team.

The Literacy Center is thankful for all the buzz around the BeeDazzling Spellebration and is looking forward to another year of improving literacy in Grand Rapids. Congratulations to all of the Literacy Center's honorees:

  • Family of the Year: The Esmeli and Urizar Gramajo-DeLeon Family

  • Tutor of the Year: Kathy Nelson

  • Adult Tutoring Program Learner of the Year: Janet Thompson

  • Customized Workplace English Program Learner of the Year: Tsegahiwet Fitwi

  • Schools of Hope Family Literacy Program Parent of the Year: Rufina Lagunes

  • Company of the Year: Spectrum Health, Received by LeMark Payne

  • Lifelong Skills Award: Sandra Ash

  • Marshall Pitler Public Relations Award: The Rapidian

  • Champions of Literacy Award: Win Irwin and Dr. Jacqueline D. Taylor

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