Portland, January 30th, 2014. Champion Zia McCabe was re-crowned at the Celebrity Spelling Bee benefiting Schoolhouse Supplies. OnPoint Community Credit Union Celebrity Spelling Bee, presented by Comcast was no “fan-toc-ci-ni!” But musician Zia McCabe knew how to spell it and took home the trophy again. The benefit raised $230,000 for students and teachers across Portland.

Celebrity speller, (right) Kodi Sawyer, guest  (left) Ashley Samson and (center) Pencil Pete

Celebrity speller, (right) Kodi Sawyer, guest (left) Ashley Samson with Pencil Pete

KGW NewsChannel 8 newscaster Drew Carney, SHS Executive Director, Jen Barth and Rob Stuart, President / CEO OnPoint Community Credit Union

KGW NewsChannel 8 newscaster Drew Carney, SHS Executive Director, Jen Barth and Rob Stuart, President / CEO OnPoint Community Credit Union

the last three standing and Reggie Aqui claims he has to leave to go "do the news"

The last three standing and Reggie Aqui told audience members he has to leave to go “do the news.”

(left) Pat Janowski and (right) Mary McDonald-Lewis note: Pat stepped in at the 11th hour to co-moderate with Mary when Mary broke her arm just days before the event.

(left) Pat Janowski and (right) Mary McDonald-Lewis note: Pat stepped in at the 11th hour to co-moderate with Mary when Mary broke her arm just days before the event.

C.J. McCollum tries to stay in the game with charm

C.J. McCollum tries to stay in the game with charm

Perhaps one of the biggest stories to come out of Thursday night was that of the performance of NewChannel 8’s Reggie Aqui. The now three-year vet of the Spelling Bee entered the contest having always been one of the first spellers out. But this year, Aqui stepped up his game. But despite openly admitting to the crowd that he hadn’t studied any of the vocab terms, Aqui managed to become one of the final three spellers before he had to “go do the news,” and finally got knocked out of the contest.

Candace Bouchard, Soloist, Oregon Ballet Theatre bows out gracefully with her misspelled word

Candace Bouchard, Soloist, Oregon Ballet Theatre bows out gracefully with her misspelled word

 Right from the get go, the Moderators – Mary McDonald-Lewis & Pat Janowski – meant business, challenging spellers with words such as “Kavya” and “Piazza” (no, not Pizza), “pee.AZ.uh.” And that was just the beginner words. In fact, words were so stiff, seasoned veteran of the Bee John Erikson even commented to the moderators, “You’re really trying to thin out the heard fast, aren’t ya?” But despite fierce terms like “jipijapa,” “sarsaparilla,” and “bobbejaan,” and equally solid competition, Zia McCabe answered the call, and reclaimed her title as Champion of the Celebrity Spelling Bee (or as we like to call it, “The Bees Knees”).

Guests enjoyed the silent auction, cocktails, and Pencil Pete’s Spelling Challenge. They listened to live music from the Lincoln High School Jazz Ensemble, and sat down to a gourmet dinner in the Grand Ballroom. They were able to bid on people – yes, people – during our save a speller “Word Nerd” live auction, double their giving impact in a special appeal paddle raise, and were finally serenaded by the Madison High School Drum Line closing the event.

The benefit raised $230,000 in vital funds that will help stock the Free Store for Teachers, and ensure that every child in our community has the tools they need to succeed. Sponsors to thanked including: OnPoint Community Credit Union, Comcast, Washman, Vista Market Intelligence, PEMCO Insurance, and NW West Natural, as well as K103, Portland Monthly, and KGW NewsChannel 8 serving as media sponsors.

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