Since 1927, The Buffalo News, in cooperation with area schools, has sponsored the spelling bee for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from Erie, Allegany (with the exception of the Alfred-Almond Central School District), Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Livingston, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties. In order to participate, you must register online at Scripps National Bee -

Scripps National requires a nominal materials and enrollment fee from all schools participating. Details are at

Once you have registered with Scripps National, the next thing you should do [by January 11, 2016] is submit your champion speller name and photo at

On February 3, school champions will take a standardized written test to determine the 20 finalists for the 2016 oral finals of the 89th annual Buffalo News Spelling Bee. The top scorer from each registered county along with the students who receive the next highest scores (up to 20 spellers) will compete in the oral finals on March 13th, 1:30 pm, in the Buffalo History Museum Auditorium. The winner of that bee and one escort will travel to Washington D.C. on an all expense paid trip for the National Finals in May.

The local title also carries a $100.00 cash award and $50.00 in additional spending money for the trip.

The second place winner will win $75, third wins $50, fourth place prize is $35 and fifth is $25.

A special $25 cash award is always awarded to the contestant scoring the highest grade on the written test. The winner will be announced at the bee on March 13th.

Other prizes to be given out at the competition include:

Webster's Third New International Dictionary and its Addenda section, The Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition and gifts from the Scripps National Spelling Bee and The Buffalo News.

All champions from schools registered in the 2016 Buffalo News Spelling Bee will receive a gift from The News, with a certificate of merit for each school runner-up.

The pronouncer at the March 13th bee will be Tim O'Shei, Buffalo News reporter. Judges are Dr. Kathleen Kreis, retired director of English and Library Services for the Buffalo Public Schools, Mrs. Ann Laudisio, Principal of Maplemere Elementary School; and Carol Schlau, chief copy editor for The Buffalo News.  Dr. Kreis also prepares both the written and oral tests. The emcee for the event is Bruce Andriatch, suburban editor and columnist for The News.



2016 Schedule    Procedures     Get the Poster   Letter to Schools   Eligibility