Dayton 7th grader to compete in national spelling bee
May 23, 2018
One Dayton seventh grader will be representing Nevada in the Scripps National Spelling Bee next week.
Morgan Bumgardner, 12, from Dayton Intermediate School, will join 518 other kids at the spelling bee next Tuesday through Thursday. He is one of two students from Nevada attending the competition.
To be eligible for the national competition, students have to win their school then regional spelling bee. However, in some cases such as with Bumgardner, they can be chosen as a wild card to attend.
"It feels exciting and nerve-wracking because I am a wildcard but there will be people who were champions of their state," Bumgardner said.
“It feels exciting and nerve-wracking because I am a wildcard but there will be people who were champions of their state.”
— Morgan BumgardnerDayton seventh grader
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A substitute teacher at his school convinced the honors English student to sign up for the bee. He finished high enough in the regional competition in Las Vegas to receive an invitation to the national level. Bumgardner said his main goal at the competition is to last past the second round.
"I am most nervous to misspell a word early on in like the second round," Bumgardner said. "Because it's like I had so much more I could have done."
The competition has run over the last 90 years as a way to give students from all over the world the opportunity to learn and improve their English skills. Those who make it past the fourth round can win cash prizes and the winner receives a trophy, more than $40,000, subscriptions to several research libraries and a trip to New York City to appear on "Live with Kelly and Ryan" and a trip to Hollywood to appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
Never in its history has a student from Nevada won the bee, but with two students in the competition this year, that could change.
For the middle schooler, the competition offers a new experience and will hopefully help open some doors for him.
"It is about the experience," Bumgardner said. "If I am able to do this, it sets me apart from the other kids and that will help later in life with stuff like college applications… my favorite part about competing is the experience, I have never been to Washington, D.C., before and I am excited to go."
His parents share his sentiment, that the experience will be the most rewarding part.
"It is exciting, it's a good time and he will have a great experience with it, regardless of how he does," said his father, Will Bumgardner.
To prepare for his trip, Bumgardner studies the words provided by the competition and he and his father go on Merriam-Webster's website to study the word of the day.
"I do one month of word of the day every day," Bumgardner said.
The National Spelling Bee will be televised on ESPN3 starting at 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday and 8 a.m. on Wednesday. The final competition will televised in two parts: on ESPN2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. on ESPN Thursday.