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First diocesan spelling bee finds students to stupendous spellers


Catholic Schools across the Diocese of Buffalo kicked off Catholic Schools Week with the first diocesan-wide spelling bee. 

Dr. Tim Uhl, secretary of Catholic Education, congratulates Brian Fronckowiak (left) from Notre Dame Academy and Abhi Mattala from St. Benedict School who came in first and second place at the Jan. 30 diocesan Spelling Bee. (Photo courtesy of Notre Dame Academy)

Each school was invited to conduct its own school spelling bee and send their top three spellers in grades 3-8 to the finals on Monday, Jan. 30, at Mount St. Mary Academy in Kenmore. 

Students braved the bright lights in the auditorium and spelled their hearts out. Thirty-five students from 14 schools showed off their hard work and preparation as they spelled words like “misericords,” “Vesuvian” and “laissez-passer.” 

The final rounds included a back-and-forth spell-off between Abhi Mattala from St. Benedict School and Brian Fronckowiak from Notre Dame Academy. In the end, Brian took home the trophy and earned his place as the top speller of the evening. 

“Thank you to the parents, teachers and principals who participated in this new event and to our gracious host, Mount St. Mary Academy,” said Kari Buchinger, deputy superintendent of Catholic Schools. 

The countdown begins for next year’s spelling bee! 

Congratulations to our top speller, Brian Fronckowiak, from Notre Dame Academy in South Buffalo and congratulations to all of the participants. 

SS. Peter & Paul, Williamsville: Catherine Elkhoury, Olivia Miranda

St. John the Baptist School, Alden: Emma Casillo, Claire Ashby

St. Stephen School, Grand Island: Patrick McWilliams, William Sharples, Lucas Saldana

Notre Dame Academy, South Buffalo: Brian Fronckowiak, Lilah Godsoe, Connor Law

St. John the Baptist School, Kenmore: Lucy Uhl, Margaret Rochford, John Eberl

SS. Peter & Paul Hamburg: Felicity Wypych, Liliana Shubert, Zoe Simon, Megan Danziger

DeSales, Lockport: Margaret Manning

St. Benedict, Eggertsville: Abhi Mattala, Summerlynn Cameron

St. Christopher, Tonawanda: Autumn Tessier, Natalie Jacob, Hannah Nguyen

Nativity of Mary, Harris Hill: Jude Schieder

Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls: Grace Cohen, Elias Croom, Giovanni Cosaro

St. Joseph Regional, Batavia: Blaire Beachel, Michael Warner, Chelsea Fitch

Our Lady of Victory, Lackawanna: Micah Giglia, Savanah Sutton, Hunter Cryczkowski

St. Gregory the Great, Williamsville: Melina Barbarosa, Owen Charles

Over 35 students took part in the first ever diocesan-wide spelling bee. (Photo by Kari Buchinger)

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