NORMAN — A Norman middle school student has a goal for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May: to get to the semi-finals.
Cole Shafer-Ray, a sixth-grader at Alcott Middle School, outspelled 39 students in 26 rounds to take home the gold Saturday at the Central Oklahoma Spelling Bee at the University of Oklahoma.
“I’m very, very excited. This is my third try,” Shafer-Ray said Sunday. “I’ve been competing for state since fourth grade.”
Shafer-Ray won the bee by spelling the word “phlox,” which is a type of flower, he said. While it was probably one of the hardest words, he said other words that challenged him included “peculate” and “dowager.”
The sixth-grader said he has been participating in spelling bees since second grade and thanks his family for helping him study. He wanted to thank his mom, dad, brother, his fifth-grade teacher and his grandparents for reading him his lists.
Now he plans on continuing to study his lists of spelling bee words to meet his goal to reach the semi-final rounds during the national competition.
In addition to taking home the winning trophy Saturday, Shafer-Ray also was awarded with a copy of Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, a year’s subscription to the Britannica Online Encyclopedia, a two-night stay in an Oklahoma state park and the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award.
According to the Scripps National Spelling Bee website, the champion of the bee could receive an engraved trophy, a cash prize, a savings bond, scholarship money, a lifetime membership to Britannica Online, an online language course and more.