On January 15, approximately 250 students gathered in the auditorium at Capitol West Academy on the northwest side of Milwaukee.


In 2008, Rotary International President Wilkinson stated that “Literacy is the next progression of what the world needs.” He also made fighting literacy an emphasis for Rotarians and encouraged them to establish a literacy project. Thus, the Elmbrook Rotary Club Literacy Project came to fruition.

Though the literacy project started with a tutoring program, the scope quickly expanded to include other programs including “Diane’s Dictionaries,” which provides students with dictionaries to increase their vocabulary development and interest in reading, support for a summer reading program and sponsorship of the 2009 first ever spelling bee competition at Capitol West Academy.

On January 15, of this year, approximately 250 students gathered in the auditorium at Capitol West Academy on the northwest side of Milwaukee in a day long, school wide spelling bee competition with the winner headed to the regional competition. For the 5th year, Elmbrook Rotary Club members were present at the event to support and present awards. Wally Smanski and Jan Constable were pronouncers for the event, while Darcy Constable, Erik Moeser and Kathy Becker presented awards. Rotarians contributed and presented a total of 14 winners with $20 gift certificates from Barnes & Nobles and 14 second place winners with $10 gift certificates.  

After 8 rounds, it was determined that Melanie Gainey, a 7th grader, was the winner and the runner up was Mai Allen, a 4th grader. Melanie competed at the Regional Spelling Bee on February 12, 2013 in Pewaukee. The regional bee included; Capitol West Academy, Divine Redeemer Lutheran School, Franklin Public Schools, Menomonee Falls Schools, New Berlin, St. Bruno and Trinity Lutheran School.  The winners at the Regional level will move on to the Badger State Spelling bee which will be on March 23 in Madison. Winners in Madison will make their way to Washington, D.C. for the National Championship, May 28-30.

For more information on Elmbrook Rotary Club Literacy Programs, please contact: Kathy Becker at kbecker@beckerritter.com or Jeanne Allen at jmallen724@gmail.com.