Teachers, firefighters compete in 1st annual adult spelling bee

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PHOENIX -- It’s been describe as more fun than “a barrel of monkeys." The 1st Annual Desert Foothills Community Spelling Bee, which is sponsored by the group Partners in Education, will happen Wednesday night.

The competitors in this spelling bee are not the 9- to 14-year-olds who make national news at the big national spelling bee. Theses competitors are their parents, grandparents and teachers. That's right, this spelling bee is for adults. The beneficiaries, however, are the kids.

Since 1992, Partners In Education has raised nearly $2 million to enhance the educational experience of local K-12 students with a special focus on helping disadvantaged kids prepare for their schooling or gain access to enrichment programs offered by Desert Foothills Community Education.

To raise money to help that cause, the different teams participating in the spelling bee have solicited sponsors. Together they have raised more than $15,000.

There are 120 spellers on more than 40 different three-member teams. Participants include firefighters, teachers, principals, and even a group of “elder spellers," who range in age from 60 to 90 years old.

Although participants don’t have to be expert spellers, each person was given an 1,100-word study guide to help them prepare for the big spell-off. To add to the fun, many of the spellers will be in costume.

Wednesday night's event is being held at Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center, 33606 N. 60th St., Scottsdale. The venue seats 450, and it is expected to sell out.

Tickets are still available, and organizers are asking that those interested in attending to bring a canned food item that will be donated to a local food bank. The spelling fun gets under way at 6:30 p.m.

For more information about the spelling bee, go to: http://www.azfcf.org/education.html.