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Going for the Honey

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Below is information on eight of the better known national competitions along with some of the major prizes each offers.


  • Organizer: MathCounts Foundation
  • Established: 1983
  • Number of participants: 350,000
  • Prizes: $26,000 in scholarships, computer equipment, and trips to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's space camp

Mathematical Olympiad

  • Organizer: American Mathematical Competitions
  • Established: 1972
  • Number of Participants: 366,000
  • Prizes: The top eight students get an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, books, calculators, and so forth

National Geography Bee

  • Organizer: National Geographic Society
  • Established: 1989
  • Number of Participants: An estimated 5 million
  • Prizes: $50,000 in scholarships

National History Day

  • Organizer: National History Day Inc.
  • Established: 1974 (local), 1980 (national)
  • Number of Participants: 500,000
  • Prizes: $101,500 in scholarships and cash awards

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

  • Organizer: Scholastic Inc.
  • Established: 1923
  • Number of Participants: 250,000
  • Prizes: $50,000 in scholarships for the top 10 winners

Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee

  • Organizer: Scripps Howard Newspapers
  • Established: 1925
  • Number of Participants: An estimated 8 million
  • Prizes: Cash awards from $50 to $5,000, savings bonds, and watches. The champion also gets reference books, computer equipment, and airline tickets for his or her family.

U.S. Academic Decathlon

  • Organizer: U.S. Academic Decathlon
  • Established: 1970 (local), 1981 (national)
  • Number of Participants: 35,000
  • Prizes: $30,000 in scholarships along with medals and trophies

Westinghouse Science Talent Search

  • Organizer: Westinghouse Electronic Corp.
  • Established: 1941
  • Number of Participants: 1,600
  • Prizes: $205,000 in scholarships

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