Nine schools are sending participants to the 16th annual Pa. Citizen Bee, Thursday, April 29 at the Carbon County Courthouse.

The Bee is an educational outreach program sponsored by The TIMES NEWS.

The competition tests participants' knowledge of U.S. history, economics, government, Pa. studies, local history and current events.

Citizen Bee contestants participate individually, first completing a 30-minute written exam followed by five rounds of oral questions. Cash prizes of $300, $200, $100 and $100 will be presented.

Each school is allowed three contestants and one alternate who may participate if one of the other three cannot attend. Schools participating this year are Carbon Career & Technical Institute, Jim Thorpe, Marian Catholic, Northern Lehigh, Palmerton, Lehighton, Panther Valley, Tamaqua and Weatherly.

Last year's winners were Frank Jay Hall, Palmerton High School, first place; Darion McGowan, Northern Lehigh High School, second; Oliver Schultz, Jim Thorpe High School, third; and Matthew Caccese, Weatherly High School, fourth.

The public is invited to attend. The oral round of questions generally begins around 7:15 p.m. Registration begins at 6 p.m. The written exam begins at 6:30.

Assisting with this year's Citizen Bee are Mary Ruth Taylor, Jeff James and Joseph Riccette, written exam proctors; judges District Judge Edward Lewis, Carbon County court administrator Roberta Brewster, Carbon County Commissioner Bill O'Gurek; District Judge Steve Bayer, appeals judge; state Rep. Jerry Knowles, timekeeper; Maureen Donovan, Lehigh Carbon Community College, moderator; and Times News publisher Fred Masenheimer or Times News reporter Amy Zubek, scorekeeper.

At one time, the Citizen Bee involved local, state and national competitions. When the national and state competitions disappeared, Times News publisher Fred Masenheimer decided to continue the local competition.

The local Citizen Bee is coordinated by George Taylor, editor of the Bethlehem Press, a weekly newspaper published by the Times News' East Penn Press newspaper group.

A Northern Lehigh photo was not available. Team members are Jonathan Haab, junior; Damion Bower, sophomore;; H. Vaugn Reese, sophomore; and alternate Kyle Baumann, sophomore. Scott DeLong is their adviser.