Penn State Learning tutors raise funds for Mid-State Literacy Council

April 12, 2016

Four writing tutors represented Penn State Learning at the Mid-State Literacy Council’s 17th annual Ron & Mary Maxwell Community Spelling Bee on April 6, at Foxdale Village. The tutors—Fatama Ibrahim, Laurel Kandianis, Meghan O’Leary and Libby Rush—joined their supervisors, Jon Olson, scholar in residence, writing and Cindy Clem, co-curricular programs coordinator, writing & languages, to form two of the 20 teams that competed for the title.

Penn State Learning has raised money for this annual Mid-State Literacy Council event for the past 17 years. Writing tutors have spelled hundreds of words, from broccoli to polystichous, and won the event once in 2008.

The Spelling Bee allows teams of three to spell out the words on paper and consult with each other for 30 seconds before spelling the word into the microphone. Teams can miss two words before being disqualified.

This year, the words started out hard and stayed hard: pottery words—faience, nacreous, celadon; the names of flowers—coreopsis, dianthus, nicotiana; and words most spellers had never heard of—thaumatology, rubefacient, quincunx. The Penn State Learning teams went out on the words eremurus, noctilucent, meretricious, and gaillardia, but before their demise one of the teams correctly spelled lateritic, impressing themselves and the crowd.

The winning team of the night, the Spellicans, sponsored by Maxwell Trucking and Tussey Settlement, correctly spelled the word myrmecophile, receiving for their efforts a gift certificate to The Tavern. The second place team received gift certificates to P.J. Harrigan’s, and the third place team received bottles of honey.

The Mid-State Literacy Council provides basic literacy and English language instruction to adults in Centre and Clearfield Counties. You can find out more about upcoming fundraisers at

Penn State Learning provides free tutoring and study groups to Penn State students. For more information, visit   

The Spelling Bee was televised live on C-NET and will be televised four more times:

Monday, April 11, 9 to 11:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 14, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Friday, April 15, 9 to 11:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 17, 8:30 to 11 a.m.

See for the schedule.

Penn State Learning is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated May 12, 2016