Spelling Bee Involves Many, Welcomes All!

March 2, 2017

20160306_154312_217_img_8110IPEI’s 19th Annual Adult Spelling Bee on Sunday, March 5 is the fun-filled fundraiser for IPEI’s grants for teachers. The family-friendly community event at the Ithaca High School Wellness Center Gym is free and open to the public. Before the spelling commences at 2:00 p.m., the doors will open at 1:30 p.m. for the silent auction, Remembox photo booth, complimentary refreshments, quilt prize drawing, play area for children accompanied by a parent or caregiver, and surprises.

When IPEI was founded 20 years ago, Ralph Jones proposed adult spelling bees that would generate community support for ICSD teachers and students. This year’s Adult Spelling Bee honors his many years assisting with IPEI and its signature event; Jones will preside as “King Bee”.

In addition to the 96 spellers on 32 teams competing in four preliminary rounds, there are others involved in the event itself including Jean McPheeters, host, and Geoff Dunn, word pronouncer, and Deborah O’Connor, time-keeper. She will be assisted by honorary “bee-keepers” Robert Ainslie of Morgan Stanley, Ithaca High’s Jason Trumble, Bill Murphy of Tompkins Trust Company, and Brandon Fortenberry of Cornell Catering.

Judges will be Matt Braun, Jennifer Engel, Suzanne Smith Jablonski, Martha Frommelt, Jerry Dietz, Deborah Lynn, Paulette Manos, and Deb Mohlenhoff. IPEI Board member Jennifer Biloski co-chairs the committee with IPEI Executive Director Steve Manley. They are assisted by the Bee Committee and volunteers from Kohl’s, Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, Code Red Robotics, and DeWitt Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society. This year’s bee fairies are Charlotte Hay and Anna Danks Burke.

One team from each of four rounds advances to the championship round that follows. Teams show their spirit with unique team names and zany costumes as they battle it out for the Fuzzy Bee trophy. Most teams have sponsors covering the team entry fee, yet all can also be supported by additional individuals, businesses or community groups. There will be prizes for the team that raises the most funds. Visit www.ipei.org/spelling-bee/bee-sponsor for easy online way to support the Bee in general or specific spellers or teams. If you don’t see them listed, enter their name after entering payment information.

IPEI’s Spelling Bee website includes details of other ways to participate as a spectator; “Spectate & More” section includes the silent auction items donated by local businesses, organizations, and individuals. Bids will be taken until the start of the fourth round for a wide range of valuable experiences and items ranging from stays in local inns, autographed books, fitness activities, bee-themed items, rounds of golf, restaurant meals and more. Featured experience that is available for bidders is seven seats at a dinner with actor Josh Malina in the home of Joel and Nancy Malina including sunset view and special dinner by Cornell Catering.

Tickets for a quilt prize drawing can be purchased on March 5, or in advance at Cat’s Pajamas or through the IPEI office. The quilt has been created by retired teachers and friends of IPEI (Peggy Hill, Connie Patterson, Judy Steele and Marcie Wyant).

Thanks to the event sponsors, all proceeds go directly toward funding Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI) grants. The Blue Ribbon Champion Sponsor is Ainslie Reilly Group at Morgan Stanley, and the Red Ribbon Finalist Sponsor is Cayuga Radio Group. Sciarabba Walker, Cornell Catering, Trane US, and Tompkins Trust Company are Gold Ribbon Sponsors. Calf Audio and Westhill Graphics partner with the Bee each year providing their special services.



Prizes will be awarded to spelling teams for success in spelling competition, in costume-wearing, and in fundraising from Purity Ice Cream, Ithaca Bakery, HeatherMakepeace, Susan McCutcheon, and DonorsChoose.org.



Lake Street News, Ithaca High’s digital media studio, will be recording all the sights and sounds for livestream and future viewing.  https://youtu.be/ZwmDQXlbvys

Last year’s Bee piloted a spelling competition format based on the Bozeman School Foundation, Montana. With this approach, teams in each round were given the same words to spell at the same time, and the pace of spelling increased. To add another layer of challenge, the format for the final Championship round will remain a surprise this year. It may differ from the written format of rounds one through four. The rules will be announced between the fourth and final rounds keeping all participants in suspense!

In case of severe inclement weather, a decision to cancel the event will be made by 10:00 a.m. on March 5. This decision will be posted on our web site, and on Facebook and Twitter. However, roads, sidewalks and parking lots are typically cleared by the time of the event at 2:00 p.m.

Contact the Spelling Bee Committee, ipei@ipei.org to get involved or with questions. The co-chairs are Jennifer Biloski, jbiloski@twcny.rr.com, 607-227-1905, and Steve Manley, steven.manley@ipei.org, 607-256-4734.

IPEI is a community-based not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that develops supportive community and private sector relationships with the ICSD. Founded in 1996, IPEI is committed to connecting school and community through collaboration, engagement, gifts and grants. For more information, see www.ipei.org or contact 256-IPEI (4734).

Spelling Bee Teams:
Belle Spellerz
Board of Ed Buzz
Caroline BEEtniks
CFCU Logophilers
Danby Road Shredder
Doctoral Dictionaries
Dr. Brown Told Us 2
Family Buzzers
Fawl Creak Fund R’aison
Fine Arts “Word” Boosters
First Congo Bees
Highway to Spell
Hive Mind
I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Royal Jelly
ITA Spellerz
IthacaSTEM Hexaplexes
Off the “Wahl” Spellers
Prince, Phelps and Lemoncello
Taking Care of Buzzness
The CU Laters
The Pagemasters
The Walkerbees
We Spell Krazy Good
Westhill <Ortho>Graphics
Wotterfawl Fun Raisin



Team Sponsors:
Anchor Capital Management
Anonymous (2)
Belle Sherman Elementary School PTA
CFCU Community Credit Union
C.S.P. Management
Caroline Elementary School PTA
Cayuga Heights Elementary School PTA
Cayuga Radio Group
Challenge Workforce Solutions
Cornell Catering
Cornell Office of Community Relations
Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca
Harris Beach PLLC
Hunt Engineers, Architects & Land Surveyors
Honda of Ithaca
Kelviden Equestrian Farm
PTA Council
Realty USA
Sciarabba Walker & Co, LLP
Tetra Tech
The Ainslie Reilly Group at Morgan Stanley
Tompkins County Public Library
Tompkins Insurance Agencies
Tompkins Trust Company
Trane U.S., Inc.
Travis Hyde Properties
True Insurance
Wahl Educational Consulting, Inc.
Warren Real Estate
Westhill Graphics

Top 10 Reasons to Participate in the IPEI Adult Spelling BeeSpellicans Win 2017 Spelling Bee!