Students through grade eight from five area counties who have won spelling bees at their schools compete. The winner receives a trip to the semifinals and championship finals in the Washington, D.C., area later in the spring.
The regional champion also receives the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, a U.S. Mint Proof Set; a one-year subscription to Britannica Online Premium; and a one-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online, the bee’s official dictionary.
High School Journalism Institute director Teresa White and School of Education communication director Scott Witzke oversee the bee. Several Media School Ambassadors and students from the School of Education’s Dean’s Advisory Council help set up the auditorium and to direct the spellers off and on the stage.
The (Bloomington, Ind.) Herald-Times and the (Martinsville, Ind.) Reporter-Times co-sponsored the bee from 2004 until 2011.