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Bethel Park Rotary Club spelling bee gives 3rd-graders a chance to show their smarts

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Each year the Bethel Park Rotary Club donates a Webster's Dictionary to each of the Bethel Park School District's nearly 300 third-graders.

On Thursday, 90 of those students will get to show how much they learned from the book with a districtwide spelling bee.

Bethel Park holds classroom spelling bees and will occasionally send students to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but the Rotary-sponsored event will be the first one open to all the district's third-graders, said district spokeswoman Vicki Flotta.

The top three finishers will get Toys “R” Us gift cards worth $150, $100 and $50, said Bonnie Pierce, secretary of the Bethel Park Rotary.

“We tried to think of something the kids would enjoy, (that would) make it worth the time, practice and competition,” Pierce said.

The dictionary program, which is in its fourth year, costs the Rotary about $3 to $4 per book, and the students get to keep the dictionaries, she said. In addition, the Rotary sponsors two college scholarships a year worth $1,000 each, based on applicants' community service experience rather than their grades.

The Rotary raises money for the dictionaries, the scholarships and the spelling bee prizes during an annual spaghetti dinner and by soliciting donations, Pierce said.

The spelling bee will be held at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Independence Middle School Auditorium, 2807 Bethel Church Road.

For anyone who wishes to join the Rotary, the Bethel Park chapter meets Wednesdays at noon at the clubhouse in South Park, Pierce said.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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