Elgin Community College team wins Literacy Connection Spelling Bee

The competition came down to two teams and one word: “onomatopoeia.” When the bell rang at the end of the teams’ allotted 45 seconds, both teams displayed their white boards, but only one displayed the correct spelling.

The “ECC E’s,” a team made up of faculty and instructors from Elgin Community College, looked to their table judge, Denise Nash, to confirm their victory.

As Nash affirmed the spelling, Jessie Huebner, Spelling Bee moderator, congratulated the ECC team and said to the audience, “This is why you should listen to your teachers!”

Team members Sandra Gonzalez, Dawn Munson, Alison Douglas, and Colleen Stribling high-fived to celebrate as audience members cheered for them.

This spelling bee, which took place on Saturday, April 27, at Elgin Community College, marked the return of The Literacy Connection’s long-standing tradition of annual Bee fundraisers.

The first 10 years of those fundraisers were Spelling Bees, from 1987 to 1997. Beginning in 1998 up until 2019, the organization switched to an annual Trivia Bee.

In both the spelling and trivia formats, the Bees have been an opportunity for the community to come together for a morning of lively competition, raffle prizes, food, and raising funds to support The Literacy Connection’s mission of helping adults in the northwest suburbs reach their literacy goals through free one-on-one and group tutoring.

This year’s event ended with a short individual round of the competition, where three participants competed in a more traditional style, spoken spelling bee.

Miguel Angel Fernandez won the individual portion of The Literacy Connection Spelling Bee with the word “crescendo.” Courtesy of The Literacy Connection

Miguel Angel Fernandez won this portion with the word “crescendo.”

Both Fernandez and the “ECC E’s” team members received cash prizes donated by Christine Awe, as well as restaurant gift cards donated by Karas Restaurant Group.

Spelling sponsors for the event included Gail Borden Public Library District Foundation, Karas Restaurant Group, and David Im — State Farm Agent. Team sponsors were KCT Credit Union and Chick-fil-A Elgin.

The Literacy Connection thanks these and all sponsors, donors, participants, and volunteers for helping make this fundraiser a success. The Literacy Connection is celebrating their 40th anniversary as an organization this year, and the funds raised at the Spelling Bee support the continued growth and impact of their community-centered mission.

The Literacy Connection serves 16 communities: Algonquin, Bartlett, Carpentersville, Cary, Elgin, East and West Dundee, Gilberts, Hanover Park, Hampshire, Hoffman Estates, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, South Elgin, Streamwood and Schaumburg.

The Literacy Connection office is located in the second floor of Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Ave. in Elgin. For information on volunteering or donating, visit or

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