BOULDER, Colo. - A 13-year-old Boulder middle school student who is fascinated by spelling is getting ready to compete in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Teddy Schoenfeld started competing in his school's spelling bee in second grade. He came in second to a fifth grader the first year.
"I thought 'why not try it next year' and I won," Schoenfeld said.
Schoenfeld won in 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade and 6th grade. This year, in 7th grade, he won his school's spelling bee and the district's spelling bee.
Now he's on his way to the Scripps National Bee starting May 27.
"National is definitely the real deal," Schoenfeld. "National can pull words from anywhere."
Schoenfeld is now busy reviewing word lists, learning the roots of words and how to spell letters in different languages.
"Every word is made up of roots," Schoenfeld explained. "[I like] how words fit together. You learn a new root and see how it works with another word. It's really cool how words work together."
"It’s not baseball, it’s not a sport, but I’m fascinated by it," Schoenfeld said.
"I just love baseball, it’s my thing," the spelling star explains. "I've loved baseball since I was a kid."
Yes, that's right. Schoenfeld isn't just studying for the National Spelling Bee, he's also playing baseball. He plays on a Boulder Bison tournament team traveling to Omaha and other cities to play.
He plays center field, left field and he pitches.
Schoenfeld is busy with baseball practice, going to school at Summit Middle School, homework, and then, spelling.
"I always thought I could spell those words when I saw it [the Bee] on TV," Schoenfeld said. "Now I'm going to be actually doing it."
And watching the Bee may help his younger brother.
"He's 6. He's not quite into spelling yet, but he's pretty good," Schoenfeld said.
Schoenfeld's dream is to become a professional baseball player. If that doesn't work out, he says being a journalist seems pretty cool or a sports broadcaster.
But on May 27, he'll be all about spelling as he begins the National Spelling Bee competition against 280 other spellers including another teenager from Colorado, 14-year-old Alex Jurich of Denver.
Learn more about Jurich on the National Spelling Bee website.
See Schoenfeld's official Bee biography.
Learn more about the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Colorado has had several students win the spelling bee:
- Dana Bennett, 1957 (co-champion)
- Joel Montgomery, 1959
- Katie Kerwin, 1979
- Jacques Bailly*, 1980
- Molly Dieveney, 1982
- Scott Isaacs, 1989
- Pratyush Buddiga, 2002
*Bailly is well known to Scripps National Spelling Bee fans because he is the official pronouncer of the bee and is seen during the Bee's broadcast each year giving the words to each speller. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at The University of Vermont.
Scripps is the parent company of KMGH-TV & TheDenverChannel.com in Denver.