March 4, 2014

Literacy Challenge a game, a fundraiser

PLATTSBURGH — Twenty-one teams competed in the 22nd-annual Literacy Challenge to raise funds for Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County and awareness, too.

They were pitted one against the other in a series of intense elimination rounds at four stations set up in Champlain Centre mall on Saturday, vying for victory in a “Jeopardy” style contest. 

Their wits were tested on seven categories: Science, Social Studies, Sports, Literature, Art, Music and Current Events/Popular Culture.

Fans, spectators and family members gathered around the players, anxiously cheering them on.

An announcer spoke each question into the microphone, while the judges kept a hawk-eye on the buzzer lights in front of each team, waiting to call out the quickest to hit it and give them first chance to answer. 

Just as in the actual TV game show, contestants had five seconds to buzz in.

“The competition is friendly,” said competitor Rich Holcomb, deputy commissioner of the Clinton County Social Services Department. 

“But people do like to win.”

His team didn’t taste that victory this year.

The AuSable Valley Teachers, who won in 2013, kept their crown, edging the Plattsburgh High School Teachers team.


Overall winner was Literacy Volunteers, however, with an early total that exceeds last year and, in fact, covers about 8 percent of the agency’s $99,000 annual budget.

The Literacy Challenge itself brought in, so far, $6,350, Executive Director Norma Menard said on Monday.

A quilt raffle raised $652, and a silent auction held in conjunction with the contest brought in $1,175.

That brings the total to $8,177.


The auction was new this year, an idea thought up by Literacy Volunteer helper Anne White.

“Anne thought we could bring in more funds,” Menard said — and she was right.

Fifty businesses donated a total of $1,600 in gift certificates, most of which sold at full retail value, White said.

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