2017 Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee Winners

A Wild and Wacky Event for a Great Cause

Kalamazoo Public Library hosts the Great Grown-up Spelling Bee to benefit Ready to Read, our early childhood literacy program. The 17th Annual Great Grown-up Spelling Bee, held Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at Western Michigan University’s Bernhard Center, was another “wildly” successful event!

We raised more than $20,000 again this year, and 100% of the proceeds will be used to purchase books for Kalamazoo County children. Eleven wonderfully creative, enthusiastic and entertaining community teams competed for this year’s spelling and team spirit awards. Or heartfelt thanks goes out to our sponsors and everyone else who makes this event possible.

See this year’s event photos »

Download and share terrific photos of this year’s event! 

Congratulations to the 2017 Winners!


Winning Spellers:

  • First Place: Public Media Network
  • Second Place: Trestlewood Pediatrics and the Portage Lions Club
  • Third Place: Kalamazoo Public Library


Public Media Network Team
Photo: John Lacko

Team Spirit Awards:

  • People’s Choice: Ladies Library Association
  • Most Creative Cheer: Friendship Village
  • Best Costumes: Public Media Network
  • Most Enthusiastic Team: Kalamazoo Public Library


The Ladies Library Association Cheerleaders
Photo: John Lacko


The Friendship Village Cheerleaders
Photo: John Lacko


The Public Media Network Cheerleaders
Photo: John Lacko


The Kalamazoo Public Library Cheerleaders
Photo: John Lacko

Watch the Bee on Public Media Network TV or Online! 

Streaming Online


TV Broadcast Schedule: Channel 187 (Charter) Channel 99 (U-Verse)

  • (Broadcast schedule coming soon)

Special Thanks to Our 2017 Sponsors



  • Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library


  • PNC Grow up Great
  • Kalamazoo Community Foundation


  • Borgess Richland
  • Borgess Woodbridge
  • The Breakfast Optimist Club
  • Bronson Health Care
  • Bronson Rambling Road Pediatrics
  • Friendship Village
  • Howard Printing
  • The Kalamazoo Sunrise Rotary
  • Ladies Library Association
  • Jeff Lee, Special Agent,
  • spelling-bee-graphic-100.jpg
  • Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
  • Omega Computer Services
  • The Portage Lions Club
  • River Run Press
  • Secant Technologies
  • Trestlewood Pediatrics

Book Pledge Sponsors

Martha Beverly; Mike Straubel & Susan Warner; Bill Dimond; Securitas; Kalamazoo Candle Company; Marge Kars; Gretchen LaReau Memorial Fund

Letter Sponsors

Robert Brown; Kalamazoo Candle Company; Getman Corporation; Taco Bob’s; The King Family: Kevin, Kathleen, Abigail and Rachel; Jim VanderRoest; Jeff Lee, Special Agent, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services; Cheryl Tenbrink; Tudor House Tea; Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone; The Nature Connection; Valerie Wright; Keirra Randoph; Psi Iota Xi; Christine Ballard; Air Zoo; Susan Lindemann & Jennifer McVey; Western Michigan University; Janice Nephew; K Wings Hockey; Friends of KPL; Ryan S. Wieber; Hartleb Insurance Agency; Lisa Godfrey; United Party & Event Services; David & Kathleen Campbell

Thank you for supporting Ready to Read!

Become a Spelling Bee Sponsor! »

Join the Fun! Sponsor the Spelling Bee with a donation of any amount.

Sponsor the Bee at the Bronze $500 level or higher and you may opt to send a team to the Bee! Can't send a team? Choose to have the library recruit a non-profit team to compete on your behalf. 

Learn more...

Register Your Team!

We need sponsors, teams of spellers and cheerleaders for the next Bee! Call 269-553-7885 for more information.

The Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee Features

  • Teams of eight adults: two courageous spellers and six outrageous cheerleaders
  • Spellers compete together in two 60-second rounds of fast paced spelling
  • Cheerleaders perform one 2-3 minute cheer in Round One
  • Prizes are awarded for best spelling, best costumes, most enthusiastic, most creative cheers and audience favorite
  • Hors d'oeuvres and cash bar
  • Event recorded by Public Media Network TV and broadcast on subsequent dates

Official Rules

  1. This is a team competition. A team is composed of two spellers. The role of speller will alternate between the two team members within each round.
  2. This is a timed competition. There will be two 1-minute rounds of spelling.
  3. All correctly spelled words in the first round will be worth 1 point each. All correctly spelled words in the second round will be worth 2 points each.
  4. The team with the highest total score from the two rounds will be the winner.
  5. Spellers must spell each word from start to finish in one attempt. Spellers may not “pass” on any words.
  6. Spellers may request that a word be pronounced again.
  7. Any question about the spelling of a word must be referred to the judges at the end of each team’s 1-minute round.
  8. The judges’ decisions on all questions shall be final.
  9. In the event of a tie the scores for the second round of spelling will determine the placement of teams. 

Previous Winners & Spellers »

Each year, the Great Grown-up Spelling Bee raises more than $20,000 to buy books for Kalamazoo County children! See the winning teams and sponsors from past Bees; view and download photos and video from past events. Learn more...