Carlsbad Fifth-Grader Competes in National Spelling Bee

This week's Whiz Kid knows how to spell success.

Kwakiutl. That’s just one of the words that came out of 10-year-old Zachary Humpherys’ mouth during our interview for this week’s Whiz Kid article. There’s no way I’d be able to spell it, and I certainly don’t know the definition. But Zachary has a true talent for breaking down tongue twisters just like that one.

“I just study words, picture them in my head and then spell them,” said Zachary.

Last month, the fifth-grader competed in the Association of Christian Schools National Spelling Bee at the nation’s capital. About 15,000 students across the country competed at local levels, but only 42 of them went to D.C. Zachary beat out sixth-graders, seventh-graders and even eighth-graders in a regional competition to earn his spot in the national bee.

“I was a little nervous getting up on stage, but then I would hear the word and as soon as I realized I knew it, I would calm down,” said Zachary.

In the end, it was the word balneology that knocked our Whiz Kid out of the competition. Zachary finished in the top 25.

"Carrie and I are incredibly proud of our son, not only for his achievements, but for his humble heart and for his excitement in getting to meet the winner of the ACSI bee,” said Brent Humpherys, Zachary’s father. “He continues to inspire us and others to work hard and do one's best."

When Zachary isn’t cracking open a dictionary and learning new words, he enjoys his typing and bible class at an area private school.

His key to awesomeness?

“I just try to study hard, and that’s what helps me succeed!”

Deanne Goodman (Editor) June 08, 2011 at 05:11 PM
I'm so impressed Zachary! I didn't know the words "kwakiutl" or "balneology" existed before reading this article, let alone how to use them in a sentence.
Ann Zevely June 09, 2011 at 12:12 AM
Thanks to Heather and Zachary I can now use Kwakiutl (Kwah-kee-oo-tel) and balneology in a sentence. The Kwakiutl may have benefited by the balneology healing especially after long hunting trips. Zachary, keep curious with our words. You may be a historian on the subject one day and a even a great writer.
Heather Zevely June 09, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Very nice Ann! I am truly impressed:) Isn't it wonderful that we can learn so much from these youngsters? Zachary has such a wonderful family, supporting him every step of the way.


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