Cleveland’s First Collegiate Spelling Bee a Rockin’ Success

College Bee in the CLE, Cleveland’s first collegiate spelling bee fundraiser for Summer on the Cuyahoga and The Literacy Cooperative, was held at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on July 18.

Initially envisioned as a way to raise money and awareness of Summer on the Cuyahoga internship program and The Literacy Cooperative’s efforts to promote reading and literacy, SOTC Executive Director Eric McGarvey said participants are already brainstorming ideas for making the College Bee in the CLE an annual summer event.

The rapid-fire, swarm-style competition was modeled after the Literacy Cooperative’s annual CLE-BEE Corporate Spelling Bee, this year scheduled for September 13th, and pitted teams of college students against each other for medals and prizes donated by the Rock Hall.

The rules were enforced by Judge John J. Russo, presiding judge, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Words were read by Mike McIntyre, columnist at The Plain Dealer and host/producer of “The Sound of Ideas” on WCPN.

Eight teams of student competitors hailed from: Case Western Reserve University, Colgate University, Cornell University, Denison University, Duke University, John Carroll University, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Smith College, and the University of Chicago.

The winning teams were from first-place University of Chicago (Ariel Pan, Rocio Pacheco, and Olivia Padilla) and from second-place Oberlin College (Claudia Baker, Kyndelle Johnson, and Eddy Tumbokon).

The event was sponsored by a mix of colleges and universities, donors, and the Rock Hall, with additional support from local businesses. “This was not an ordinary spelling bee. It was exciting, fast-paced and included fun interactions between our guest officials, students and the audience,” McGarvey said. “The event allowed for schools, employers and peers to rally in support of the student teams and the Rock Hall was a perfect backdrop and allowed the general public to stop by and join the excitement!”

The Literacy Cooperative addresses low literacy levels in Greater Cleveland by bridging current gaps in the education continuum and support availability; allowing for children and adults in Greater Cleveland to reach their highest literacy potential for employment, self-sufficiency, and lifelong learning. For more information, go to www.literacycooperative.org

Summer on the Cuyahoga aims to expose the best young talent to the abundance of professional opportunities in Northeast Ohio. This year’s program brought 70 students from 17 states and six foreign countries to Cleveland for an intensive summer immersion program designed to help interns explore the professional, civic and social offerings of Greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. SOTC offers challenging paid internships, community introductions, alumni connections, and group housing for the summer. SOTC also hosts more than 40 summer event to expose students to Cleveland culture. For more information, go to www.summeronthecuyahoga.com