Our Inaugural CLE-BEE was a Great Success!


On Thursday, September 8th, 2016, 24 teams representing companies and organizations from Northeast Ohio came together for an exciting and friendly spelling competition to raise awareness about literacy.

Our Inaugural Corporate Spelling Bee, CLE-BEE, was a year in the making. We wanted to create a fun event where members of the community could get together for a fun night where they would learn more about the important work we do. (Throughout this blog we included some of the words from the night.  See if you can find them!)

Guests and teams began arriving at 5:00 pm. As they were mingling and enjoying their appetizers and drinks, many took part in our International Literacy Day selfie station. Since September 8th was also International Literacy Day we encouraged people to share a book, author or genre they recommended for others to read. We had a number of great pictures including from one of our readers, Mike Snyder as well as Mayor Frank Jackson and County Executive Armond Budish! We also set up a selfie station for individuals to cheer on their favorite CLE-BEE teams! Here are some of the fun social media posts.

The event convoked with a welcome speech and reading of the rules by our special guest emcee Betsy Kling, Chief Meteorologist for WKYC Channel 3. She made sure everyone was excited and ready for the competition. Our Executive Director, Bob Paponetti, thanked our sponsors Key Bank and The Lubrizol Corporation as well as our event partners, The City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland Magazine, Goldfarb Weber Creative Media, ideastream, WKYC, WTAM, and Zimmer Design. Our board president Beth Grove introduced our new video that highlights our work and our goals.

Mayor Frank Jackson gave a wonderful speech about how literacy has impacted his life. By sharing his own personal story, he gave the attendees an example of what persevering can do and how overcoming the hurdle of illiteracy is not an impossible task. It can be done with
help, success can be achieved and an impact can be made. He ended his speech by presenting Bob with an official proclamation celebrating our ten year anniversary.speeches-college-for-blog

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish gave another fantastic speech about the impact literacy has on jobs and how important early literacy is to the success and growth of our community. It was a great speech to round out the welcomes and remind people of the real purpose of the event, which was to raise awareness about literacy and its impact on our community.

Once the speeches were done it was time for the competition to begin! Swarm one was the Finance round. This round consisted of the following teams: Ciuni & Panichi, Inc., Corrigan Krause /CMS Management Solutions, Key Bank, Newmark Grubb Frank Knight, Oswald Companies and United Way of Greater Cleveland. The teams did a great job staying focused and had aplomb, taking some time before the first team was eliminated. At the end, Oswald Companies emerged the victors of the first swarm and moved on to the final round.

Competition continued to move on with swarm two, the Legal Teams. The competitors were Baker Hostelter, Benesch Fiedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP, Frantz Ward, Thompson Hine, Ulmer & Berne LLP, and The City Club of Cleveland. The teams battled it out in the longest round of the evening.  In the end Baker Hostetler was victorious, appearing to be cognoscentes of spelling and moving on to the final round.

Swarm three was the Corporate round. The teams competing were from Eaton Corporation, Goldfarb Weber Creative Media, Cleveland Leadership Center, Lincoln Electric, The Lubrizol Corporation, and WKYC Channel 3. It was another tough round with a gallimaufry of words, but Eaton Corporation emerged the winners and moved to the finals.

The last qualifying swarm in this English orthography was the Community round. This last group was from Broadway Slavic Village My Com/P16 (supported by Third Federal Foundation), Case Elementary, CMSD (supported by Jones Day), Cleveland Metropolitan School District (sponsored by Key Bank), Cleveland State University (sponsored by Lubrizol), Cuyahoga Community College and Northeast Ohio Able. Tri-C dominated the round and moved on!swarm-pic-blog

Betsy Kling welcomed our final four teams, Baker Hostetler, Eaton Corporation, Oswald Companies and Tri-C. She read the rules of the final round and revealed that this was a sudden death round. One wrong answer and you were out.

But our judge (The Honorable Judge Russo) added to the frisson of the evening and called for a vote on this sudden death rule. As he stated in his court, the jury decides on the outcome of a case and he thought the audience and teams should decide on the rules for the final round. He called for an audience vote and although they voted to keep the sudden death rule, he decided to not homologate it and reinstated the rule to give all teams two chances. It was a great start to the lively round!

The final round was a tough one, these weren’t simple words to spell. After a fierce round of competition full of debates between team members, immalleable spirits, and intense scribbling, erasing and rewriting, we had our champions, Baker Hostetler!

This great event would not have been possible without the involvement of a number of people and organizations. We want to thank Key Bank and The Lubrizol Corporation for sponsoring the event. A huge thank you to Betsy Kling for being our emcee, Michael Snyder and Monyka Price for being our readers and The Honorable Judge Russo for being our judge. And a big thank you to all of the companies and organizations that competed; without you we would not have enjoyed so many people cachinnating.