Twenty local students will take part in the 2016 oral finals of the 89th annual Buffalo News Spelling Bee at 1:30 p.m. March 13 in the Buffalo History Museum. They are:
• Ethan Stroud, Alexander Middle School, Grade 8
• Pranav Setlur, Casey Middle School, Grade 8
• Therese Pivarunas, Children of Mary Home School, Grade 8
• Owen Lindstrom, Christian Central Academy, Grade 7
• Bryan Renzoni, Clarence Middle School, Grade 8
• Alexander Hunt, Ellicottville Middle/High School, Grade 7
• Cameron Crowell, Fredonia Middle School, Grade 6
• Emily Tait, G.R.A.C.E. Leah Homeschool, Grade 7
• Jonathan Rizzo, Genesee Valley Central School, Grade 8
• Renee Wright, Holland Jr./Sr. High School, Grade 8
• Santino Panzica, Holland Jr./Sr. High School, Grade 8
• Jonah Slabodkin, Kadimah School of Buffalo, Grade 7
• Jacob DeAngelis, Lake Shore Middle School, Grade 8
• Ewan Maxwell, Livonia Middle School , Grade 7
• Rohan Nag, Mill Middle School, Grade 6
• Francis De La Torres, Native American Magnet, Grade 8
• Christopher Ulrich, Royalton-Hartland Middle School, Grade 6
• Michael Sobol, Saints Peter & Paul School, Grade 8
• Evelyn Grapes, St. Christopher School, Grade 7
• Jacob Cazes, Sweet Home Middle School, Grade 8
Since 1927, The News, in cooperation with area schools, has sponsored the spelling bee for sixth-, seventh- and eighth- grade students in the nine-county Western New York area. The winner from the March 13 competition, along with an adult escort, will travel on an all-expense paid trip, courtesy of The News, to Washington, D.C., to represent The Buffalo News and Western New York in the Scripps National Bee during the last week of May.
The local title also carries a $100 cash award and $50 in additional spending money for the trip. The next four finishers will receive 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. The top five will also receive a Buffalo Zoo family membership, courtesy of The News.
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, 11th Edition; a one-year membership to Britannica Online Premium from Encyclopaedia Britannica; and other gifts from The Buffalo News.
The pronouncer will be News feature reporter Tim O’Shei. Judges will be Kathleen Kreis, former director of English and Library Services for Buffalo Public Schools; Ann Laudisio; Carol Russo, News chief copy editor; and Nicole Morris-McLaughlin, bee coordinator. Master of ceremonies will be Bruce Andriatch, News assistant managing editor for features.
Kreis also prepared both the written and oral tests.