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NeCoEdFo’s Eighth Annual Red Hot Spelling Bee to be held March 25

necoSharp spelling skills help when it comes to Newton-Conover Education Foundation’s annual Red Hot Spelling Bee, but they aren’t required. “All you really need is enough money to get your team to the championship round,” said NeCoEdFo Chairman Michael Willard, “and you can contend for a spelling bee championship and the travel trophy that the winners keep for a year.” Not only can competitors buy their way into championship contention, they can even rely on a little help from their friends.

“This isn’t your normal spelling bee, where you have to stand by yourself in front of a microphone and spell words to a silent audience,” Willard continued. “This is a team event — team members work together to spell each of the competition words. Plus, when spelling teams are costume-clad, and the audience is laughing and cheering, there’s definitely a festive atmosphere. Everyone involved really has a lot of fun while supporting the Newton-Conover City Schools System.”

Presented by The Observer News Enterprise and Outlook, NeCoEdFo’s Eighth Annual Red Hot Spelling Bee is one of two annual fund-raisers for the organization that delivers student scholarships and classroom grants to the Newton-Conover City Schools System.

This year’s event is set for March 25 in the gymnasium at Newton-Conover High School. The fun begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception supported by community restaurants and businesses. To participate assemble four spellers, a $100 entry fee ($25 for an all student team) and complete an entry form available at Newton-Conover City Schools administration offices. Complete details are provided on the entry form. Registrations are due March 21.

“With the economic challenges that our school system continues to endure, we are proud to be providing additional funding for teachers who are initiating innovative approaches in the classroom,” Willard said. “We also provide scholarships for seniors who have shown community involvement as well as ‘P.R.I.D.E.’ in the Newton-Conover school system. By participating in the spelling bee, you are not only supporting the Newton-Conover Education Fund, but having a fun family night of entertainment.”

Teams that register before March 7 receive a free buy-back. “Buy-backs are another way that this spelling competition is different from traditional spelling bees,” Willard said. “When a team misses a word they can buy back into the competition for $10, and teams can get that money from anywhere. Every year we have plenty of spellers that turn to the audience to find money to help keep their spelling championship dreams alive.” Buy-backs are allowed until the championship round, when remaining teams rally against one another for victory.

The event is more than an exciting competition for teams of spellers, it is also a great event for spectators. Admission is free. The community is encouraged to attend and watch student teams compete against faculty teams, as well as teams from throughout the community. There’s even a costume contest, where adult teams and students vie for prizes and the audience’s attention.

For more information or to enter a team, contact Michael Willard at 464-4041 or 850-2366. Entry forms are also available at The Observer News Enterprise in downtown Newton and at supporting businesses throughout the community. Current details are available at the Newton-Conover Education Foundation Facebook page.

About Heather Mullins

Dr. Heather Mullins is the Chief Academic Officer in Newton-Conover City Schools. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who spent 12 years as a high school English Teacher. She received her B.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University. Heather completed her National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2002. She holds an M.Ed. in Academically and Intellectually Gifted from UNC-Charlotte. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through Western Carolina University. Her dissertation focused on improving principal practice through strategic professional development. Heather has served as a Curriculum Specialist in Hickory City Schools, an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and a Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Heather is one of the co-founders of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She is passionate about innovative practices, instructional technology, student ownership of learning, and supporting teachers. Heather serves on the advisory board for the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, North Carolina School for the Deaf and Catawba Science Center. She is a recipient of the 2015 NCMLE Central Office Administrator to Watch Award. She also received the 2016 Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Heather is the proud mother of one son, Jackson.

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