One after-school program pairs students with Muncie celebrities, allowing them to show off their spelling skills for a trophy. 

Motivate Our Minds will host a Celebrity Spelling Bee for the Muncie community to attend on Thursday.

MOM has been in Muncie for 30 years, said Monique Armstrong, MOM executive director. It provides students with a variety of programs that service financial literacy, reading intervention, orchestral learning and gardening. 

The Celebrity Spelling Bee will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 9 at Townsend Corporation, 1015 W. Jackson St.

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“We are Muncie’s first education enrichment center,” Armstrong said. “Our mission is educating children and families to flourish. But we are really that advocate for a child through their career.”

Third-grader Nakyla Brown has been involved with MOM for four years. As a member of MOM Spelling Bee Club, Brown will participate in the spelling bee.

“I am super, super excited for Thursday,” Brown said. “I think [spelling bees] are fun because I get a chance to spell and stuff. At first, I thought I wouldn’t be good, but then I tried it and I won.”

Last year, Brown won MOM Celebrity Spelling Bee with her partner First Merchants Bank of Muncie. 

“[I am excited] to get to see First Merchants,” Brown said. “One of the guys is very funny. Once he weared a yellow hat and a yellow tie and called himself Spongebob.”

The words the teams will have to spell are commonly misspelled by adults. 

“The last word was gesundheit. That was the bonus word. And I said sound it out gu-sund-height. And we spelled it out,” Brown said.  “And we got it right and we won.”

The spelling bee will involve six teams paired with “famous” people in the community, said Michelle Kinsey, chair of the spelling bee committee team. 

“The Celebrity Spelling Bee is a fundraiser. The technical celebrities are well-known people in the community,” Kinsey said. “The celebrities really are the Motivate Our Minds kids.”

Both Muncie Community School and Ball State students are encouraged to attend the spelling bee, said Kinsey. Food and music will be offered at the event.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to get out and experience your community,” Kinsey said. “Get out and see what the community has to offer. If there is a way that you can enjoy yourself for an evening while also giving back to the community — what an amazing opportunity.”