John Callow Wins Read To Succeed's Spelling Bee

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(L-R) John Callow and Dr. David Urban are the final two. Callow won with the word "slumgullion".
Read To Succeed's Executive Director Lisa Mitchell announced that she will be leaving at the end of this year.
(L-R) Prounouncer Martha Touchton, Winner John Callow, RTS Executive Director Lisa Mitchell
2017 Celebrity Spellers, pronouncer, and executive director
Jolene Radnoti begins duties as Read To Succeed's new executive director with the New Year.
Read To Succeed Board President Brian Coleman
(Left) Student Ples Nelson highly endorses program while his tutor, Bob Potter, proudly watches.
Dr. Glenn and Ellen Himebaugh
Read To Succeed information table
Tim and Joyce Merritt
(L-R) Chris and Gwen Green, along with Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh
(L-R) Betty Childress, Libby McKay
(left) Greenhouse Ministry Founder Cliff Sharp
The lobby was filled with popular SILENT AUCTION items.
John Callow correctly spelled "slumgullion" and became the 2017 Read To Succeed CELEBRITY SPELLING BEE Champion! (L-R) Pronouncer Martha Touchton, Spelling King John Callow, and Read to Succeed Executive Director Lisa Mitchell.

There was a record turnout for the 2017 Read To Succeed Spelling Bee Thursday night at World Outreach Church. Murfreesboro's Community Development Director John Callow won the event with the word "slumgullion".

The runner-up was the dean of MTSU's Jones College of Business, Dr. David Urban. The word "eburnated" was the one that tripped him.

When asked if the need for reading tutors was still as much of need as it was in the past, Read To Succeed Executive Director stated...


(Time: 6-seconds)

At the end of Read To Succeed's major fundraiser, Executive Director Lisa Mitchell tearfully announced that she would be leaving at the end of the year. It was announced that Murfreesboro City School's Family and Community Outreach Coordinator Jolene Radnoti would take the position with the New Year.


Student Ples (pronounced PLEZ) Nelson told NewsRadio WGNS what Read To Succeed had done for him . . .

(Time: 13-sec.)

There was much competition between the contestants long before the event. Prior to the Celebrity Spelling Bee, it was announced that Volunteer State Bank's Senior Vice President Chad Hill had raised the most donations. Local Attorney Scott Kimberly secured the most sponsors.

The 2017 Celebrity Spellers included:

  • John Callow, Director of Murfreesboro Community Development (winner)
  • Carrie Beth Catron, editor VIP magazine
  • Alan Farley, Rutherford County election administrator
  • Savannah Grimm, morning DJ on The River
  • Sky Harris, Murfreesboro Police officer
  • Chad Hill, Sr. VP Volunteer State Bank
  • Chris Jackson, Sr. Analyst State Farm Insurance
  • Jantrice Johnson, Interno Real Estate
  • Ethan Kennan, 7th grade student at Thurman Francis School, 2017 Student Spelling Bee winner
  • Gayle Porterfield, 6th grade teacher Mitchell Neilson
  • Tim Swann, Batallion Chief Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department
  • Dr. David Urban, Dean MTSU Jones College of Business (2nd place)
  • Julie Young, Director of Operations, Greenhouse Ministries
  • David Young, minister North Boulevard Church of Christ

St. Mark's United Methodist Church Minister Martha Touchton was the pronouncer. Judges for the 2017 Read To Succeed "Celebrity Spelling Bee" were Read To Succeed Executive Board Member Janie Becker, Hingram Content Group's Dallas Jessup, and retired Murfreesboro City School educator Suzy Willis.

Listen to Lisa Mitchell's complete interview

(Time: 2-minutes, 34-seconds)

Read more from:
"slumgullion", Dr. David Urban, John Callow, Lisa Mitchell, Read To Succeed, Spelling Bee, WGNS
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