Scrabble tournament

The team Alternative Spellings — Beth Watts (left to right), Kurt Reinheimer and Joy Bruce — earned the top prize in the 2018 Blue Ridge Literacy Scrabble Tournament.

The Harrison Museum of African American Culture once again is giving high school students an opportunity for one-on-one contact with college recruiters.

The museum’s second annual Historically Black College and University Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 16 at William Fleming High School.

The goal of the fair is to give opportunities to students who ordinarily would not have access to recruiters and alumni, according to Charles Price, president of the museum.

Eight colleges have signed up to participate.

Students also will have an opportunity to walk away with acceptance letters and possible scholarships from some of the schools, according a flyer for the event. Some of the colleges will conduct on-site interviews, offering senors instant admission and waiver of application fees.

The fair is free, and students, parents and guardians are urged to attend. Graduating high school seniors are the only individuals eligible for on-site interviews and college admission.

The advance information says seniors should come dressed in professional attire.

Literacy Scrabble seeks teams for March 21 tournament

Blue Ridge Literacy is gearing up for its annual Scrabble Tournament, and players will be challenged to top “besiege” and “opaque” as last year’s most creative words.

This 14th annual team-based tourney is March 21 at St. John’s Episcopal Church. A catered buffet dinner starts at 5 p.m. with Scrabble play beginning at 6 p.m.

The tournament is the only fundraiser for the literacy organization, which is funded primarily with grants and donations. The teaching staff consist mainly of volunteers.

Three-member teams are being recruited for the tournament, which offers prizes in several categories, including the “Most Creative Word” and “Best Team Name.”

Teams pay a registration fee of $120. Individuals interested in being placed on a team can sign up for $40.

For more information or to register, visit or call 265-9339.

Thirty-eight teams participated in last year’s tournament, but this year’s event will be able to accommodate 40 teams because of a location change to St. John’s.

“Besiege,” by the way, was the most creative word for last year’s Round 1 of play, using all seven letters and racking up a lot of points for Alternative Spellings, the team of Joy Bruce, Kurt Reinheimer and Beth Watts. They also won the tournament’s grand prize and had the highest combined score.

“Opaque” was played on a triple word score and was unique, earning the Round 2 best word award for Friends With Words, the team of Lauren Kennedy, Josh Metz and Sydney Vaughn.

The 2018 tournament raised close to $10,000, about 5 percent of Blue Ridge Literacy’s annual budget. The proceeds are used to train volunteers and to buy textbooks and other materials, according to Executive Director Stephanie Holladay.

“We use Scrabble because we are a literacy organization and it ties in well with our tutoring, citizenship and English classes for adults,” she said.

Blue Ridge Literacy serves about 350 learners per year and “at any given time has 150 learners,” said Holladay.

The organization is in the Main Library in downtown Roanoke, 706 S. Jefferson St., and offers citizenship classes, skill building, English classes for speakers of other languages, and tutoring.

It was founded in 1985 by two librarians.

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