Maybe you haven’t been in a spelling bee since you were a kid.

The Greater Orange Area Literacy Service is now offering adults an opportunity to be in another spelling bee, and this one will be for a good cause.

The Sixteenth Annual GOALS Adult Spelling Bee Challenge will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 27 at Lamar State College-Orange Student Center. In fact, GOALS invites everyone to “Bee a Honey” and to come join them for lunch and lots of fun.

Bonnie Hopperton, president of the board for GOALS, would like to encourage more teams to enter this community-wide fund-raiser.

“We need teams. It’s lots of fun,” she said.

Spelling team of three adults each are sponsored by local organizations and businesses for $300 each. Additional donations by individuals, organizations and business are publicized in the spelling bee program.

Angel San Juan of Channel 12 News will be the MC. Old Orange Cafe will cater the lunch.

Andy Preslar, an instructor with LSC-O, will serve as the pronouncer. There will be three judges and a timekeeper.

Cheer sessions at the bee are nicknamed swarms and an award- a spirit stick donated by A. Scott Florists- is given to the best cheerleaders. There’s an Audience Participation Spell, too, with an opportunity to win a continuing education course prize from LSC-O.

Teams are given a list of words to study prior to the bee. They may also purchase Mulligans, or a do-over, for $25 each. Each team may buy a maximum of three Mulligans.

Mulligans may be used in the final round. Amazingly, 90 percent of teams who have Mulligans don’t use them.

An Easter wreath will also be raffled at the event.

On a sad note, Sharon LeBlanc, director of GOALS, will be retiring following the spelling bee.

Tickets are available at the GOALS office, 520 Decatur St. in Orange, for a donation of $15, or by call 409-886-4311, or by e-mail at goals1993@sbcglobal.net.

All proceeds go to the enhancement and development of Adult Literacy Services in the Greater Orange Area.

Sponsorship levels are:

Queen Bee $500

Honey Bee $400

Pollen Providers $350

Spelling team $300

Bumble Bee $200

Honeycomb $100

ABC’s for Literacy (Name in the program) $25

LeBlanc said there’s still  much work to be done because literacy statistics for Orange County are some of the lowest in the state at 19 percent. Stats were at 30 percent but many are not reporting rather than conditions improving.

Hopperton, furthermore, speculates the population size has shrunk since Hurricane Ike for the numbers.

There are success stories, too, on the other hand of students working hard and advancing.

LeBlanc spoke of one student who is making progress in his math studies and another student, who has health issues, who’s grandmother comes to the GOALS office to bring her work home to her. Two women recently obtained their GEDs.

Some of the students are tech-savvy and they can take their tests on the computer at LSC-O.

LeBlanc said students being able to take their tests in Orange is a blessing rather than having to travel to Beaumont or to Vidor.

“We help where they’re at and at what level they’re at. Whatever they need,” she said.

The GOALS program was founded in 1993 and has a charter with the Texas Non-profit Corporation Act. The incorporaters were Bonnie Hopperton and Deborah Mitchell.

Adults (16 years and older) are tutored by volunteer tutors in reading, GED preparation, and English for non English speakers.

Volunteer tutors donate their time in-kind.

All tutoring is free to those who have registered with the GOALS office. Office hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Tutors may choose to meet with a student at various locations in Orange: the Orange Public Library, Lamar State College-Orange and local churches through special arrangements.

Photo – Bonnie Hopperton, president of the board of the Greater Orange Area Literacy Service, left, and Sharon LeBlanc, director of GOALS, are promoting the Sixteenth Annual GOALS Adult Spelling Bee Challenge, to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 27 at the Lamar State College-Orange Student Center. All proceeds to to the enhancement and development of Adult Literacy Services in the Greater Orange Area.
RECORD PHOTO: David Ball