The Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging and I recently teamed up to sponsor a centuries-old celebration, a community spelling bee. A large room full of people cheered the friendly rivalry between the contestants, many of whom remembered the glory of grade school successes and just wanted to see if they were still on top of their game. Boy, were they ever!
American Idol had no edge on the tension that grew as the words became increasingly more difficult. Open to those 50 and over, the event was a testament to the importance of a strong, core education and life-long learning.
There are many folks to thank for the dayâ€™s success. All the brave contestants, of course; Bob Ament, Ruth Cleary, Pat Feeley, Bob Jones, Susan Oâ€™Neill, Kathleen Ramsey, Bette Schoenholtz, Barbara Weber, Bob Wyngard and Claudia Wyngard.
Chief Marty Kunkel welcomed us to the Sugar Grove Fire Station. Librarian Beverly Hughes provided the largest dictionary ever seen. Jenkins Trophy provided the awards. Superintendent Dr. James Rydland taught us all the many pronunciations of every word.
It was a great event, and everyone agreed weâ€™d do it again in 2010. First place winner Susan Oâ€™Neill and second place winner Barbara Weber will advance to a regional competition. Those winners then have a mega spell-off at the Illinois State Fair.
Iâ€™ll be rooting for them.
50th District State Representative