Eighth-grader spells success

Eighth-grader Joshua Gansberg reads the dictionary like other boys his age read comic books or adventure stories.

His dedication may spell success for him at the state spelling bee in Las Vegas on March 29.

"I'm going to try to win," he said. "I want to see how far up I can get, and I want go to (the national bee in) Washington, D.C."

Joshua, 14, entered his first spelling bee when he was in the fourth grade at Bethlehem Lutheran School, which he still attends.

"There was another kid in my class who was a pretty good speller," he said. "I thought it would be a challenge."

Joshua rose to that challenge and continued to reign victorious in spelling bees, competing for the last two years at the state level.

He said he has studied a minimal amount for the state competition, but this year he's determined to be the best.

Although he enjoys the competitive nature of the bees, he also likes learning new words to add to his vocabulary

"It makes it a lot easier to understand people if they have a good vocabulary because they can explain things better," he said.

But Joshua isn't all bookworm. He also enjoys playing volleyball, basketball and baseball.

He hopes to play on the basketball or baseball team when he goes to Carson High School next year -- a big change from his small private school.

He said he thinks the individual attention from teachers and the quality education he's received from Bethlehem Lutheran School will prepare him for the transition.

"There's going to be a lot of people I don't know, but I'm not really worried about the school stuff," he said.

And he has a strong support system.

"My mom and dad are always encouraging me," he said of his parents Edward "Butch" and Rachel Gansberg.

In return, he tries to set a good example for his younger sisters Rebecca, Christine and Stephanie. He said the best advice he would give them is: "It's more important who they are than what they do or what they achieve."

The credit for his success, he said, goes to God.

"I thank God for giving me this gift," he said. "He created us all, and He loves us so much."


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