Dewey Decimators wins 7th Reaching Heights Bee

First place went to the defending champions, Dewey Decimators. The Malaprops, dressed as flamingos, came in second place.

Can you spell nephelometric? Dewey Decimators, representing Friends of the Heights Libraries, can and did to win the 2023 Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee on May 10.

The team has won a total of seven Reaching Heights Bees, and most of its victories belong to spellers Chris Mentrek and Victor Rosenberg.

This year 14 teams—representing the Cleveland Orchestra Women’s Chorus; Friends of the Heights Libraries; the cities of Cleveland Heights, University Heights, and South Euclid; neighborhood groups; business districts; and school PTAs—gathered for a silly yet serious spelling competition.

Ahmaad Crump, a Heights High alumnus and the arena host for the Cleveland Cavaliers, welcomed the teams to the stage with his dynamic voice and infectious enthusiasm. This set the cheery tone for a fun community event that raised $8,500 to support Reaching Heights’ Many Villages Tutoring and Role Models programs.

By Round 3, the always entertaining musical round, 12 teams were still standing. In this special round, a team can be forgiven for one spelling error if members sing the spelling of their word. The Cleveland Heights Demokratz Klubb spelled the word rhythm to the tune of “I’ve Got Rhythm!” They spelled it correctly and did not need to be forgiven for an error, but the audience definitely enjoyed hearing them sing anyway.

The final two teams, newcomers The Malaprops and Dewey Decimators, valiantly spelled through seven rounds of difficult words. In Round 8, Dewey Decimators, with spellers Rosenberg and Mentrek, won it all by correctly spelling nephelometric, an instrument for measuring the extent or degree of cloudiness.

With Dewey Decimators successfully defending its title as Bee Champion, the plastic bee trophy will once again be displayed at the Lee Road Library until next year’s competition.

Special thanks to all of the bee teams’ groupies who supported and cheered loudly. The Cleveland Heights Demokratz Klubb won the People’s Choice Award, and the Cleveland Orchestra Women’s Chorus won the Top Team Donor ($900) award.

Steve Presser returned as the event MC for his 28th Reaching Heights Spelling Bee. The calm- and clear-voiced Simona Mkrtschjan did an outstanding job in her first Bee as the Pronouncer.

Lisa Hunt, family engagement specialist for the CH-UH schools; Brandon Towns, Heights High's assistant principal; and Ricky Watters, coordinator of safety and security for the district, supervised the competition as the VIP Bee Judges.

The light-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.

Krista Hawthorne

Diana Drushel is special projects coordinator for Reaching Heights.

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Volume 16, Issue 6, Posted 1:59 PM, 05.23.2023