The Reaching Heights Spelling Bee came roaring back to the Heights High Auditorium on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 after two years of virtual Bees. Fifteen teams representing the Cleveland Orchestra, Heights Library, the cities of Cleveland Heights, University Heights, and South Euclid, churches, neighborhood groups, business districts and school PTA’s gathered for a silly yet serious spelling competition. Ahmaad Crump, Heights High Alum and Arena Host for the Cleveland Cavaliers, welcomed the teams to the stage with his powerful voice and contagious enthusiasm. This set the upbeat tone for a fun community event that raised $8,300 to support Reaching Heights’ Many Villages Tutoring and Role Models programs.
Pictured : Coventry Word Outlaws, Cynthia Larsen, Vivian Vail, and Barbara Solomon sponsored by Macs Backs Books
Nine teams were still standing in Round 3, the always entertaining Musical Round. In this special round, a team can be forgiven for one spelling error if they sing the spelling of their word. The Mayors’ Team spelled breccia to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner! They spelled it correctly and did not need to be forgiven for an error but the audience clearly enjoyed hearing them sing anyway.
The final three teams, the Boulevard B Team (Boulevard Elementary PTA), the Mayors’ Team, and the Dewey Decimators (Friends of Heights Library), valiantly spelled through four rounds of difficult words. In Round 5, the Dewey Decimators with spellers Victor Rosenberg and Chris Mentrek, won it all by correctly spelling ageusia which means the absence or impairment of the sense of taste. St. Paul’s Episco-spellians, the defending champions, reluctantly relinquished the big plastic bee trophy which will be displayed at the main library until next year’s competition.
Photo Credit: Adaora Schmiedl
Special thanks to all of the bee teams’ groupies who wore costumes and cheered loudly. The Rockespellers representing the Rockefeller Forest Hill neighborhood won the Loudest Cheering Section and the Cleveland Heights Demakratz Klubb won the Highest Fundraising award ($575). Steve Presser returned as the event Master of Ceremonies for his 27th Reaching Heights Spelling Bee. The calm and clear voiced Sally Wile, returned as Pronouncer for her third Bee. Well-known playwright, Eric Coble, Heights Girls Basketball Coach, Karen Battle, and CH-UH Schools Superintendent, Liz Kirby supervised the competition as the VIP Bee Judges. A light-hearted, team-spirited, community building event was a refreshing way for all involved to spend an evening and raise funds to enrich students in the CH-UH public schools.