Spell-Bound! It's time for spellers and sponsors to sign up!

January 28, 2015

Whether it’s a love of spelling, a personal challenge, or the way to serve a good cause, past participants in the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI) Adult Spelling Bee all agree the event is something to buzz about!

“I loved spelling bees at school, and had thought that all that fun was gone for good. But no! Last year’s competition was a continuation of those bygone days,” said Sam Goodyear, member of last year’s championship team from WSKG.

 “I became excited about the Spelling Bee when I read about it in the paper. What? I thought. A spelling bee for adults? That sounds like a dream come true,” said Joan Doria, another longtime speller. 

Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown said he looks forward to the event each year. “The annual IPEI Adult Spelling Bee has been a great way for me to appease my competitive nature while simultaneously supporting a great organization.”

This year’s Spelling Bee is scheduled for Sunday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m., at the Ithaca High School Wellness Center Gym. Now in its 17th year, this fun-filled community event draws a large crowd of all ages eager to watch the competition and cheer on the spellers. Inspired by the classic spelling bee format, with rules, a pronouncer, a timekeeper, and three judges; IPEI’s Bee features contestants competing in teams of three representing local businesses, schools, and community groups. Team costumes are encouraged, and cheering sections rally the competitors as the teams battle it out to make it to the championship round vying for the Fuzzy Bee trophy.

“I love the community spirit and sense of fun that surrounds the event—the enthusiasm, the variety of people and organizations involved, the clever team names and costumes, all of it,” said Russ Charif of the Spellicans.

Doria recalled of her team, the Bee-Attitudes: “Our ‘regalia’ included bright yellow scarves with our name in black letters, along with deeley-boppers for our heads. What a hoot! When I saw that a lot of people ‘dress’ for the occasion I knew I had found a fun community.”

Spelling Bee teams are the heart of the event. Up to 28 teams can take part, with a $400 minimum entry fee per team paid by community sponsors or the spellers themselves. While online registration is encouraged (ipei.peaksmaker.com), entry forms as well as tips for finding team sponsors can be downloaded from www.ipei.org.

Thanks to the support of event sponsors, all proceeds from the Bee support IPEI grants for teachers. The four grants programs—Teacher Grants, Red and Gold Grants, Community Collaboration Grants, and Connecting Classroom Grants—help bring a diverse range of community resources into ICSD classrooms. Event sponsors include Chemung Canal Trust, Wells Fargo Financial Advisors, Sciarabba Walker, and Cayuga Radio Group.

“I know that my spelling team’s entry fee has helped bring rich, exciting educational opportunities to kids in all grade levels in the Ithaca schools,” said Doria.

“We’re very fortunate in Ithaca to have so many terrific, committed, and creative teachers at every level in the district,” said Charif. “IPEI helps provide the means for many to make their great ideas into realities benefitting our students. It’s really satisfying to be a part of that through the Bee.”

So whether it’s a love of words, good fun, or a worthy cause that makes you Spell-Bound, heed the buzz and BEE a part of this year’s IPEI Adult Spelling Bee!

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.orgor contact 256-IPEI (4734).

By Judy Stewart

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