On September 20, 2023, The Literacy Cooperative hosted its highly anticipated adult spelling bee, CLE Bee 8, at Windows on the River. The evening began with a lively cocktail hour, setting the stage for a night of excitement and community engagement. Attendees received a warm welcome from Board Chair Julie Crocker, and a video message from Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb to kick off the event. Bob Paponetti, President & CEO of The Literacy Cooperative, highlighted the importance of literacy and the organization’s initiatives.

Emcee Mike McIntyre, along with Judge John Russo and word readers Jon Doss and Mike Snyder, kept the energy high during the bee. The spelling bee featured fierce competition and challenging words, showcasing each team’s impressive spelling skills. During the event, touching Mission Moment videos showcased testimonials from families enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, emphasizing the program’s role in establishing the foundation for early childhood success.

Additionally, a special video message from Charlotte Burgin, a first-time author at 94 and the ambassador for CLE Bee 8, highlighted her unwavering commitment to literacy, while another video from 100-year-old Robert Madison emphasized the profound impact of literacy during the annual celebration. The coveted CLE Bee 8 champion title went to Benesch Law, who correctly spelled the winning word Absquatulate. Tri-C, Friends of Literacy, and Medical Mutual were among the final contenders, showcasing remarkable spelling abilities.

With sincere gratitude to:

  • The speakers for the event: Mike McIntyre, Mike Snyder, Mayor Justin Bibb, Julie Crocker, and Judge Russo.
  • Celebrity word readers: Peter Lawson Jones, Connie Hill-Johnson, Rebecca Liebert, Steven C. Glass, and Sean Richardson.
  • Mission Moments testimonials: Robert Madison, Charlotte Burgin.
  • The sponsors for their support and making this evening possible.
  • The teams for being good sports and having fun.
  • The volunteers for keeping the wheels moving on a very detailed event.
  • The guests for being the best cheerleaders.

The CLE Bee 8 Teams and Sponsors:

Lubrizol Corp, Medical Mutual, Cleveland Cliffs, Huntington, Benesch, Center for Community Solutions, Cleveland Police, Cleveland Public Library, Corrigan Krause, DMS Management Solutions, First Federal Lakewood, Frantz Ward, Friends of Literacy, Jones Day, KeyBank, Margaret W. Wong & Associates, Merrill Lynch, Oswald Companies, OverDrive, PNC Bank, Rotary, Taft, The Centers, Tri-C, WEWS