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Zion funeral home takes bee win again

Zaryah Dix12 Junior Miss Ziwalks stage show thit's round five annual Corporate Spelling Bee North Point Christian Church Winthrop Harbor.

Zaryah Dixon, 12, Junior Miss Zion, walks the stage to show that it's round five at the annual Corporate Spelling Bee at North Point Christian Church in Winthrop Harbor. | Mark Ukena~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 9, 2013 1:45AM

WINTHROP HARBOR — “Diphtheria” spelled winner for Congdon Funeral Home. The team won the seventh annual Corporate Community Spelling Bee on Thursday night.

Congdon beat 14 other teams to win first place for the second year in a row.

“I think it’s wonderful. It’s a good feeling. Everyone had a good time. It’s a fun evening and always is a fun to watch,” said Loren Congdon, owner of the Zion funeral home, who cheered his team on.

Sandra Shea of Winthrop Harbor, Bill Dermody of Zion and Mark Twadell of Beach Park were the spellers who faced spelling teams from Zion-Benton Public Library and Abbott Laboratories in the bee’s final and ninth round for the victory.

Dermody’s wife is a nurse. That’s why he was confident with the spelling of their victory word.

“It’s a really great community event and we’re happy to be a part of it,” Dermody said.

The event was held at North Point Christian Church in Winthrop Harbor as a fund-raiser for CREW — Community Resources for Education and Wellness, Inc.

Proceeds fund programs for education and wellness in Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor and Zion, according to Jan Suthard, Benton Township supervisor and spelling bee fund-raising chairwoman.

The event brings in more than $10,000 every year. Fifteen to 22 teams compete annually for the coveted trophy. Beach Park Middle School Principal Ray Ruiz, Winthrop Harbor School District Superintendent Dennis Guiser and Zion School District Superintendent John Ahlgrim were judges. Zion Park District Director Rich Walker was the pronouncer and Al Hill kept time.

The spelling bee celebrates literacy and raises money for good causes like substance abuse counseling, according to Zion Township Supervisor Cheri Neal.

“Having a corporate spelling bee is one of the most heart-warming events. It really brings the community together,” Neal said.

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