Dewey’s Decimators win Reaching Heights bee

Spellers (in hard hats) Chris Mentrek, Victor Rosenberg and Susan Beatty of Dewey's Decimators won the 26th annual Reaching Heights Community Spelling Bee. They are joined by Krista Hawthorne (left), director of Reaching Heights and Nancy Levin, director of Heights Libraries.

By round seven, three teams remained on stage at the Reaching Heights Community Spelling Bee held on April 19 at Heights High: the Noble Queen Bees, representing teachers at Noble Elementary School; the Coventry Word Outlaws, representing Mac Back’s Books, Camp Firebird/Roosevelt, and the nonprofits in the Coventry School building; and Dewey’s Decimators, representing Friends of the Heights Libraries.

Adorned in wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and feather boas, the Noble Queen Bees misspelled “coprolalia.” Next, the Coventry Word Outlaws—dressed as Old West outlaws, and holding stuffed toy horses—misspelled “apocope.” Dewey’s Decimators, wearing green hard hats, won the bee when they correctly spelled “inveigle,” which means to entice or win over by wiles.

The winning team—spellers Victor Rosenberg, Susan Beatty and Chris Mentrek—took home the Big Plastic Bee trophy, which will be on display at the Lee Road Library until next year, and gift certificates to the Blossom Music Festival and Dewey’s Pizza on Lee Road. The Noble teams’ fans won Best Cheering Section, and the Fundraising Champion again this year, collecting more than $1,000, was Upper Case, the team representing Case Western Reserve University.

The competition was strong, with only four teams leaving the stage in the first three rounds. Seven teams took advantage of round three—the Musical Round—opting to musically perform the spelling of their word, which excused misspellings. Then, four teams left the stage in round five, and four more in round six, leaving three teams standing in the seventh and final round.

It was an exciting finish to an evening that included music from Broken Strings, a violin duet that played during the Pre-Bee Spellers Dinner; the Heights High Marching Band drummers, who led the parade of spellers into the auditorium; and the Heights High Barbershoppers, who sang during the fourth-round break.

Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun, was the bee’s Master of Ceremonies for the 22nd year; Nancy Levin, director of Heights Libraries, served as Pronouncer for the seventh year; and Steve Titchenal projected the words for the audience for his 24th year. Judges were Sandy Womack, the CH-UH school district’s director of principal leadership and development; Talisa Dixon, district superintendent; and Brian Jung, the parent of a Heights High student.

Team sponsors included the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Cleveland Heights Jazzercisers, CLE Iphone Repair, New Heights Grill, and many individuals from Cleveland Heights and University Heights, including Nancy Dietrich, who celebrated her 25th year as a speller in the Reaching Heights Bee. Board of Education members, Cleveland Heights City Council members and staff, Friends of the Heights Libraries, Squire Patton Boggs LLC, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Forest Hill Church, and the Heights High, Noble Middle, Fairfax Elementary, and Roxboro Elementary and Middle school PTAs all generously sponsored teams.

Reaching Heights expressed gratitude to the school district for use of space in Heights High and for the services provided by the stage crew and custodial staff, and to the local businesses that provided food, paper goods, raffle baskets and winners’ prizes, including: Stone Oven, Zagara’s Marketplace, Heinen’s Fine Foods, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, the Cleveland Orchestra, Dewey’s Pizza, Grog Shop, Big Fun, The Funny Times, Starbucks, and Atma Center.

All proceeds from the bee benefit Reaching Heights, a nonprofit organization that works to mobilize community resources to foster highly valued public schools that provide all Cleveland Heights-University Heights students with a successful education. Consider forming a team to represent your block or your business and spell in next year's bee. For more information about Reaching Heights, or forming a team to compete in next year’s Reaching Heights Community Spelling Bee, visit or call 216-932-5110.

Krista Hawthorne

Krista Hawthorne is the executive director of Reaching Heights.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 5:59 PM, 05.08.2017