Virtual Celebrity Spelling Bee raises $40K

Nov 10, 2020 at 08:04 am by literacymatters

Michael Linn White, City of Murfreesboro Channel 3 host
Michael Linn White, City of Murfreesboro Channel 3 host, triumphed at the 2020 Celebrity Spelling Bee

On the evening of Thursday, Nov. 5, friends and supporters of Read To Succeed attended the 14th annual "To Bee Or Not To Bee" Celebrity Spelling Bee virtual event on Facebook.

At the end of the competition, Michael Linn White, City of Murfreesboro Channel 3 host, triumphed at the 2020 Celebrity Spelling Bee. In the final round, she beat out local business owner Kara Kemp with the correct spelling of "massacres." White and Kemp faced off for 15 rounds. In the final round, Kemp misspelled "anecdote," which cost her the win but earned her second place. 

Kara Kemp (below with her award) also received an award for the most individual donations in her name, and The Ultimate Predator received the award for raising the most money. 


The Ultimate Predator (below) won third place in the spelling competition; Abdou Kattih, president of Murfreesboro Muslim Youth, won fourth place, and SRO Officer Christopher Williams won fifth place. 

In addition to the spelling bee, the night included a tribute to Dr. Linda Gilbert with heartfelt messages from friends and family, the announcement of the 2021 One Book (Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds), and a moving testimonial from an adult learner.

"We are thrilled about the success of our first virtual Celebrity Bee," said Read To Succeed Executive Director Jolene Radnoti. "It was an honor to highlight Dr. Linda Gilbert, and the support from the brave spellers, sponsors, and community was beyond what we could hope for. Our fundraising goal was $40,000, and we exceeded that before the start of the event!" 

Thanks to the spellers, sponsors, and individual donors, Read To Succeed raised $43,000. 

"These funds help sustain our organization and allow us to continue our mission to improve lives of families in Rutherford County through literacy," Jolene said. "We thank everyone who participated, donated, and promoted this event. We hope to see you in person next year!"

The 2020 Sponsors were Nissan North America, Atmos Energy, Adams Family Foundation, Middle Tennessee Emergency Physicians, Ascension Saint Thomas, A Mortgage Boutique, Dr. James & Beverly Calder, Murfreesboro Housing Authority, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Middle Tennessee Electric, Don & Melanie Clayton, Brian Coleman — Edward Jones, Jennings & Rebecca Jones Foundation, Wilson Bank & Trust, Judge Steve & Lara Daniel, Ascend Federal Credit Union, Coggin Family Foundation, Andy Womack — State Farm, Murfreesboro Medical Clinic & Surgicenter, Hagan Law Group, PLCC, and Regina Harvey.

About Read To Succeed 

Read To Succeed improves lives in Rutherford County and promotes literacy with free programs and resources for children and adults. Read To Succeed supports their mission by fostering partnerships with providers, educators, community helpers, and business owners, creating events and programming to promote literacy.


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