Hendersonville Student Reflects On Spelling Bee Performance - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Hendersonville Student Reflects On Spelling Bee Performance

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by Emily Luxen

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. - Fresh off a 19th place finish in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, a Sumner County student is already gearing up for next year.

13-year-old Merrol Hyde Magnet School student, Jonathan Caldwell said he felt good about his performance in the semifinals, and enjoyed the experience.

"I wasn't too nervous.  I wasn't really expecting to make the semifinals," said Caldwell. "Anything can happen.  There were good spellers who didn't make it back to the semifinals."

Caldwell was one of 281 students from around the world that competed in the 86th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., and had to spell words like "persiflage" and "pergameneous." It was the first time he competed in the national event.

"It was great to meet people I consider celebrities because I had seen them on TV," said Caldwell. "They were just normal people."

Caldwell said he trains daily by studying word lists, and memorizing words he feels could be used in the competition.  He has one year of eligibility left, and plans to study hard this summer in preparation of next year's event.

"I'm going to read the dictionary," said Caldwell.  "I'm writing down all the words that are hard, going to review those and try to master the English language."

The Middle Tennessee State University School of Journalism sponsored Caldwell and paid for the trip.  His family joined him in Washington, D.C., and they were able to enjoy some sites around town before the competition started.

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