Reaching Heights to honor Bailey at 23rd annual Bee

Carla Bailey

On March 12, Reaching Heights will host its annual Adult Spelling Bee in Heights High auditorium. The event serves as both a fundraiser for the organization and a family-friendly event for the whole community.

For 23 years, community members have formed teams of three to test their spelling skills and compete for the honor of having their team’s name emblazoned on the “Coveted Big Plastic Bee Trophy.” Teams represent organizations, such as parent-teacher associations from Heights schools, local religious institutions, universities, world-class orchestras, law firms, and city councils, or they comprise groups of friends. Some teams train extensively, others not so much, but all get into the spirit of the evening with creative costumes and cheering sections.

Each year at the Bee, Reaching Heights honors a Friend of Public Education for his or her commitment to Heights schools.This year's honoree is Carla Bailey.

"Carla Bailey is a parent, PTA leader, vocal music volunteer, AFS International student exchange host parent and advocate, refugee student advisor, social justice monitor, lifelong learner, and public school champion," said Krista Hawthorne, assistant director of Reaching Heights, "We are excited to have this opportunity to recognize Carla for her years of dedication to kids in the district."

The Bee will start at 7 p.m. on March 12, and all are welcome to attend the free event. As in previous years, Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun, will be master of ceremonies, and Nancy Levin, CH-UH library director, will be the pronouncer. This year’s judges will be Nylajean McDaniel, CH-UH superintendent, and Tony Zupancic, a Heights resident and associate professor of communications, English and theater at Notre Dame College.

The Reaching Heights Spelling Bee raises funds for programs that support academic and musical excellence in the public schools. Each team raises a minimum of $500. In 2013, 25 teams competed and raised $13,000. Video of last year’s Bee is online at

The deadline to register at team is March 4. To register, or for more information, contact Krista Hawthorn at 216-932-5110 or

Saroya Queen-Tabor

Saroya Queen-Tabor is a longtime resident of Cleveland Heights and a member of the Reaching Heights Board of Directors.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 4:34 PM, 02.27.2014