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20 students chosen for Buffalo News Spelling Bee

Twenty students will compete in the 82nd annual Buffalo News Spelling Bee at 1:30 p.m. March 8 in the Buffalo History Museum.

The winner and an adult escort will travel on an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to represent The News in the Scripps National Spelling Bee during the last week of May.

The finalists are: Ethan Stroud, seventh grade, Alexander Middle School; Therese Pivarunas, seventh grade, Children of Mary Home Schoolers; Samantha Maroshick, eighth grade, Depew Middle School; Angelina Belcer, seventh grade, Cuba-Rushford; Rebecca Ostrander, eighth grade, Global Concepts Charter School; Callan Izatt, eighth grade, Nardin Elementary School; Jalee Evans, sixth grade, Ellicottville; Grace Warsitz, sixth grade, Cassadaga Vallley; Kristina Ebert, eighth grade, Christian Central Academy.

Also, Bryan Renzoni, seventh grade, Clarence Middle School; Emily Tait, sixth grade, G.R.A.C.E. Leah; Sampath Petchetti, seventh grade, Heim Middle School; Angela Borosky, eighth grade, Holland; Zoe Buck, eighth grade, Mill Middle School; Michael Sobol, seventh grade, SS Peter and Paul School, Williamsville; Dennis Majdandzic, eighth grade, Sweet Home Middle School; Andrew Kim, seventh grade, Transit Middle School; Hannah Schiffmacher, sixth grade, Veronica E. Connor Middle School; Alexander Flanagan, eighth grade, Livonia Intermediate School; and Aaron Bacon, seventh grade, Royalton-Hartland.

Sixty-one school champions took a written test on Feb. 4 to determine who would compete in the oral finals.

Since 1927, The News, in cooperation with area schools, has sponsored the spelling bee for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students in Western New York.

The local title also carries a $100 cash award, $50 in additional spending money for the trip and an engraved pen and pencil set. The next top four finishers will receive an engraved pen and pencil set along with these cash prizes: second, $75; third, $50; fourth, $35; and fifth, $25.

A special $25 cash award will be given to the contestant scoring the highest grade on the written test. This prize is announced at the bee.

Other prizes to be given out at the competition include: Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged; The Samuel Louis Sugarman Award; Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition; a one-year membership to Britannica Online Premium from Encyclopaedia Britannica; and gifts from The Buffalo News.

In May, all champions from schools registered in the 2015 Buffalo News Spelling Bee will receive a gift from The News. There will also be a certificate of merit for each school runner-up.

The pronouncer for the bee will be Cynthia Pearson, retired South Park High School English teacher. Judges will be Dr. Kathleen Kreis, former director of English and library services for the Buffalo Public Schools; Ann Laudisio, principal of Maplemere Elementary in the Sweet Home district; and Carol Schlau, chief copy editor at The News.

The emcee for the competition will be Bruce Andriatch, assistant managing editor for features at The News.

Kreis and Pearson prepared both the written and oral tests.