IPEI’s 17th Annual Adult Spelling Bee is Sunday, March 1

February 23, 2015

Spellerbrate Good Times

                     …and Good Grants!


Everyone is invited to the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI) Adult Spelling Bee on Sunday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m. at Ithaca High School’s Wellness Center Gym. There is no admission charge for the 17th annual event that features 28 spelling teams of three adults each competing for the championship Fuzzy Bee trophy and raising funds for the IPEI’s grants for teachers.


During the last school year IPEI awarded over $75,000 in grants, benefiting teachers and students at all grade levels in the Ithaca City School District. Grants are provided for innovative educational projects including many that promote collaboration between Ithaca schools and the community. To learn more, please visit www.ipei.org.


The public is encouraged to attend as audience members. Some teams bring their own cheering sections, but there’s always room in the gym for more fans. There will be complimentary refreshments from local businesses and attendees can support grants for teachers by participating in the silent auction. Doors open at 1:30 pm. to allow time for review of the auction items. Teams are continuing to fundraise with online donations made through www.ipei.peaksmaker.com.


Chemung Canal Trust Company, the Blue Ribbon Champion Sponsor for the fifth year, is joined by Red Ribbon Finalist Sponsor Wells Fargo Advisors and two Gold Ribbon Sponsors, Cayuga Radio Group and Sciarabba Walker & Co.  Their corporate support covers all event expenses so that team sponsorships directly support grants for teachers. West Hill Graphicsand Calf Audio are also key event partners.


This popular community event is run like an official spelling bee, with rules, a pronouncer, host, timekeeper, and three judges. Geoff Dunn will pronounce the words with assistance from Zoya Segelbacher while timekeeper Susan Piliero will alert spellers when their time has expired.  Each round will feature an honorary celebrity bee-keeper assisting her. Judges include IPEI founder Ralph Jones, Paulette Manos and Deborah Lynn.  This year’s Bee host will be Jean McPheeters.


Teams are known by creative names such as Highway to Spell, Spell Sesquicentennial, I.H.S.    Bee-TA, Beankeepers, BJM Spell Casters, LACS Alternative Spellerz, Slightly Better than Autocorrect, and the Hilarious Spell-Loehrs. Two teams are back after multiple championships: the Spellicans and Fine Arts “Word” Boosters, and last year’s winners, We Spell Krazy Good (WSKG).  Teams may be comprised of community members who want to support local public education and enjoy spelling. Others are closely connected to the Ithaca City School District (ICSD):Ithaca Teachers Association, ICSD Administration, ICSD Board of Education, ICSD Librarians, Belle Sherman Elementary School PTA, Caroline Elementary School PTA, Northeast Elementary PTA, Ithaca High School PTA, Ithaca High School Math Department, Lehman Alternative Community School, Fine Arts Booster Group, and the Ithaca Council of PTAs.


Teams represent theevent sponsors and team sponsors such as CFCU, Wegmans, Carol Bushberg Real Estate, Audrey Edelman RealtyUSA, Ithaca College, Cornell University, Trane U.S, Inc, True Insurance, Harris Beach PLLC, CSP Management, Hunt Engineers, WSKG, UPS Store, Anchor Capital Management, Robert Maciel Associates, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Avital’s Apiaries, and Wordsmyth. Championship Round prizes and new awards for the teams with the best costumes, most team spirit, and highest fundraising are provided by DonorsChoose.org, Steve Ryan, Susan McCutcheon, and Makepeace Candles.


Refreshments are being donated by Aladdin’s Natural Eatery, B & W Supply Company, Collegetown Bagels, Cornell Orchards, Ithaca Coffee Company, Mark’s Pizzeria, Ned’s Pizzeria, P&C Fresh, Subway, and Wings Over Ithaca. The silent auction features 40 items. The Wellness Center doors will open at 1:30 pm. to allow time for review of the wide range of offerings items from restaurants, museums, retail shops, salons and spas, educational organizations, and inns. In addition, the event program features advertisements from more generous businesses.


Events like the Spelling Bee depend on participation of many.  The Bee Committee is chaired by IPEI board member Jennifer Biloski and supported by IPEI Programs and Events Manager Julie Langenbacher. Nora Shang, Karen Yearwood, Ellen Reuben, Michelle Woods, David McMurry, Usha Raman, Marcie Wyant, Connie Patterson and Mary Grainger are committee members, and all IPEI board members are involved with event preparation and production, too.  Student volunteers from DeWitt Junior Honor Society, and Ithaca High’s Code Red Robotics team will assist at the event including support for this year’s Bee fairies, Meira Braun and Grace Blodgett.


WRED, Ithaca High School’s state-of-the-art television production facility and course, offers Digital Media students the opportunity to produce shows in a real-world environment for the web and for cable. Thanks to Steve Cass, Michael Reiff and their students, WRED recorded the Bee for live stream. Go to youtube, search for IHSWRED, once located search the playlist and find IPEI Spelling Bee.


In case of severe inclement weather, a decision to delay the event schedule will be made by 9:00 a.m. on March 1. This decision will be posted on the IPEI website, and announced by Facebook and Twitter.


IPEI is a community based not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that develops supportive community and private sector relationships with the Ithaca City School District. For more information, see www.ipei.org.  Results will be posted on the website after March 1, and on Facebook and Twitter.


IPEI has announced 10 new Red and Gold Grants17th Annual Adult Spelling Bee