The third time was the charm for Aiden Mischley.
The Forest Hills eighth-grader bested 18 students from six counties on March 22 to take first place at the 39th annual Greater Grand Rapids Spelling Bee. Other top participating districts included Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Lowell, East Grand Rapids, Rockford.
Aiden will represent Kent ISD and West Michigan from May 24 – 26 at the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C. Nearly 300 spellers will compete, with live sessions broadcast on May 25 and 26 on ESPN or ESPN2.
Aiden took first place at his school spelling bee, one of nearly 170 bees in the region, then at one of 19 Regional bees before competing in the Greater Grand Rapids event, open every year to students in grades 4 to 8.
Aiden, from Northern Hills Middle School, was competing in the Greater Grand Rapids Spelling Bee for the third time, having finished fourth last year. His winning word: f-e-l-o-n-i-o-u-s-l-y.
“I’m sort of a spell-checker formy family,” admits Aiden, whose mother also did well in bees when she was in school. He said his mom has been his spelling coach since she noticed him correcting typos in elementary school.
His strategy: learn root words, he said, then visualize the prefixes and suffixes. That can prove useful in many cases, he said, “but it’s not like I’m going to be able to learn every word in the dictionary.”
More on Regionals
At the Grand Rapids event, fourth-place winner Dayshawn Fields, from Grand Rapids Riverside Middle School, was the top-placing first-year participant.
Besides Aiden and Dayshawn, other participants at the regional level from Kent ISD schools were Sumegha Ponnaluri, Forest Hills Eastern Middle School; Niharikaa Dhage, Kentwood Crestwood Middle School; Sebastian Padilla, Grand Rapids Center for Economicology; Megan Rogers, East Rockford Middle School; Cooper Hutt, East Grand Rapids Lakeside Elementary; and Jeremy James, Lowell’s Cherry Creek Elementary.
Visit spellingbee.com for the ESPN broadcast schedule of nationals