Sixth spelling bee for RVNA March 8

Local luminaries will enjoy a battle of words and wits on Wednesday, March 8th at the Ridgefield Playhouse in the 6th Annual RVNA Spelling Bee.

Will the baker beat the broker?  Can the student out-smart the librarian?  Will the yoga teacher bend over backwards to get a word right?  Will the salon owner blow everyone out of the water?  Come join in, spell along and see who the winner will be!  It’s all in good fun and for a great cause – to support RVNA Nursing Education.

“This is a great group of contestants – and competitive, too!  They are so enthusiastic and have a great sense of community,” said RVNA Director of Philanthropy, Mary Jean Heller. “The RVNA Spelling Bee is a great family event and we are so thankful for this group’s willingness to participate and support RVNA.”

The RVNA Spelling Bee follows the format of the National Scripps Spelling Bee, complete with a panel of judges and an official moderator.  This year’s moderator will again be Daniela Sikora, Director of the Ridgefield Chorale and former Spelling Bee contestant.  Sikora was also the moderator in 2016.

However, the contestants in this spelling bee have a few additional rules to keep track of.  Lili Schroppe, RVNA Marketing and Public Relations Manager, explains, “In the RVNA Spelling Bee, contestants are each permitted an audience ‘lifeline’ to help them out, and they can ‘buy themselves back’ into the contest  - or the audience can – with a donation to the honey pot.”

Contestants are Ellen Bonheim, owner of Firefly Family Yoga; Mark Caswell, officer with the Ridgefield Police Department; Rich Cohen, author of many books including his most recent, The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones; Tim Dent, realtor with Coldwell Banker; Dr. Jay D’Orso, physician at Western Connecticut Medical Group – Ridgefield Primary Care; Eric Freidenrich, owner of Ross Bread + Coffee; Marcie Maguire, senior at Ridgefield High School; Susi Manheimer, owner of Susi Laura Massage; Brenda McKinley, director of the Ridgefield Library; Amy Pal, owner of Whip Salon; Anne Stauff, volunteer with SPHERE; Joel Third, board member of the Keeler Tavern Museum; and Meg Whitbeck, registered dietitian and nutrition educator at RVNA.

Judges will be Ridgefield Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Morris, retired school principal Cloris Pearson, and RVNA’s President and CEO Theresa Santoro, all making return visits to the Bee.

“While winning is certainly applauded, the focus is on community, camaraderie and a whole lot of fun. As much as the Spelling Bee is an RVNA fundraiser, it is also an annual fun-raiser,” Schroppe continued.

Funds raised through the RVNA Spelling Bee support RVNA Nursing Education.  RVNA spends roughly $40,000 per year on education and in-service training for its more than 80 nurses, therapists and home health aides.  Last year, the agency served more than 1,500 patients, making well over 48,000 home care visits in 28 western Connecticut towns.

The event is being sponsored by AR Kids, BMW of Ridgefield, Dr. Blaine Langberg, Cathie Bonner Professional Skating Instructor, Dr. Dana C. Jones, Fairfield County Bank, Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Fairfield County Financial Services, HamletHub, HooDoo Brown Barbeque, Maida Design, Reynolds & Rowella, Ridgefield Academy, Ridgefield Police Benevolent Association, The Ridgefield Press, Study-Works Janie Larson, Tiger Sports, Turner Mechanical, We Do Lines, Western Connecticut Medical Group – Ridgefield Primary Care, and Young’s of Ridgefield.

The RVNA Spelling Bee will be held on Wednesday, March 8th, at 7:00pm at the Ridgefield Playhouse. Tickets ($20 Adult, $5 Student) can be purchased at RVNA, located at 27 Governor Street, or online at, or at the door on the night of the event.