The 27th Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee went 8 rounds on the stage of the newly renovated Cleveland Heights High School on Wednesday, April 18. Dewey’s Decimators, representing the Friends of the Heights Library correctly spelled “chiaroscurist” to win the fun but quite serious spelling competition. Spellers Victor Rosenberg, Susan Marshall, and Chris Mentrek were happy to bring home their team’s 4th victory. This win ties them with the OOPS team representing the Cleveland Orchestra musicians as the winningest team in the history of the Reaching Heights Bee.
The winning team received the Big Plastic Bee trophy to display proudly at the Main Library for another year, and each of the team members took home gift certificates to the Blossom Music Festival and the Cleveland Running Company on Lee Road. The Fundraising Champion again this year for collecting more than $1,700 was Upper Case, the team representing Case Western Reserve University.
This Bee was more than a spelling competition. It was a wonderful community event that included a Pre-Bee Dinner, music from Drill, the Heights High Marching Band percussionists who led the parade of spellers into the auditorium, the Heights High Women Barbershoppers who sang at the 4th Round break, a generous raffle, and delicious bake sale. New teams representing Oxford Teachers; the Mayors of Cleveland Heights, University Heights and South Euclid; A Mindful Approach, and the Girl Scouts of NEO added to the fun.
Steve Presser celebrated his 23nd year as the Master of Ceremonies, Cynthia Booker, Instructor of Digital Video & Television Production at Heights High School served as Pronouncer, and Steve Titchenal projected the words for the audience for his 25th year. Nancy Levin, Director of Heights Libraries, Dr. Alisa Lawson-McKinnie, 11th Grade Principal at Heights High, and Robert Swaggard, Director of Curriculum & Instruction for the CHUH City School District served as Bee Judges.
Team sponsors included 2 groups of local Jazzercisers, and many individuals including Donalene Poduska, founder of the Reaching Heights Bee; former Cleveland Heights councilperson, Nancy Dietrich who celebrated her 26th year as a speller; and members of a Heights Alumni team, The Comeback Kids. Board of Education members, Mayors, City Council Members, and staff of the City of Cleveland Heights. Friends of the Heights Libraries, Squire Patton Boggs LLC, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Forest Hill Church, and the Gearity, Noble, Fairfax, and Roxboro Elementary and Heights Middle School PTAs all generously sponsored teams.
Reaching Heights expressed gratitude to the school district for use of space in Heights High and the services provided by the Stage Crew and custodial staff. Also recognized were local businesses that provided food, raffle baskets items, sponsorship ads, and winners’ prizes including: The Stone Oven, Zagara’s Marketplace, Whole Foods, the Cleveland Orchestra, Melt, Cleveland Cinemas, The Fairmount, Buffalo Wild Wings, Tommy's, For Goodness Cakes, Pizza BOGO, the Atma Center, Family Connections, Ensemble Theatre, Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant, CLE Iphone Repair, Heights Dental Group, New Heights Grill, Lake Erie Ink, State Farm