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Brian King - 2010 State Champion!
   
Brian King, an 8th grader at Connections Academy, a DPS on-line school, is the 2010 Colorado State Spelling Bee Champion.  Runners-up are Linda Schiller, a 7th grader from Morey Middle School, and Sam Cyphers, a 7th grader from Holy Family Catholic School in Fruita.  Dylan Salzman, a 7th grader from Hill Campus of Arts and Sciences, and Danny Sarché, a 6th grader from Hamilton Middle School tied for 5th place.  Here’s Brian’s story in his own words:               
   
Brian’s Story:

     "It all started with a phone call.  On a winter’s day in 2006 I received a phone call from my English teacher, Ms. Tara Walker.  She asked me if I wanted to participate in a spelling bee.  At first, I was taken aback.  After thinking about it for a minute or two, though, I thought it might be fun, and a few weeks later I found myself rehearsing the study words before the bee started.  Two hours later I had placed 3rd in my first spelling bee.  I loved the adrenaline rush I got while on stage, and I seemed fairly good at spelling, so I decided to continue.  I won my next bee and spelling was really starting to grow on me.  Next was the City Written, which would qualify me for state if I got into the top 25.  I ended up 6th after missing 9 words.  I was going to State!  Before State however, I also placed 6th in the City Orals, and won a pink ribbon.  Pink!  Needless to say, I was unhappy about that.  When State rolled around, I was just excited to be in it.  Although I thought I had studied hard, I just barely passed the written test and got into the oral finals.  I went out on "masala" and placed 21st.  All in all, it was a great first year.

     That summer, I participated in the semantics class Mr. Schaefer taught.  This introduced me to a plethora of new words.  I had previously only studied Spell It!  Since it was my second year, I knew what I could do and knew I could improve on last year’s results.  And I did.  I placed 2nd in City Written and once again placed 6th in the City Orals (another pink ribbon!).  At State, though, I improved a lot.  I went from 21st to 5th, this time missing a non-Spell It! word, "tragedienne."  As both spelling and school wound down, I once again signed up for the Summer Semantics class.  Last summer we had completed many written tests.  This time Mr. Schaefer decided to hold mini spelling bees.  Another great year of spelling had passed, but the greatest year of all was yet to come.

     This was my third year and I was in 8th grade.  The last year.  My time to shine.  I knew I needed to win State if I wanted to go to Nationals and I made that my goal.  Instead of focusing on Spell It!, I studied Paideia and any other words I could get my hands on.  I fell just short of winning the City Written, but I garnered a blue ribbon, not a pink one, at City Orals.  Ahead lay the state spelling bee.  After fighting through the written test, I qualified for the oral finals for the third consecutive year.  I breezed through the Spell It! words, knowing that any missed word would end my career in spelling then and there.  I fought through the other non-Spell It! words such as "Dickensian," "monstrance," "holoplankton," and "demure."  After spelling "demure," the two remaining spellers missed their words.  I was going to be given one word to win the Colorado State Spelling Bee, joining people such as Jacques Bailly and Pratyush Buddiga.  It would also be the first time somebody from DPS won in 20 years.  The word was "traumatropism."  I got the information.  The definition especially helped me.  The word came to me and I spelled it correctly.  I had won the Colorado State Spelling Bee!  I was going to DC!  

     The following week was so hectic!  I went from CSAPs to interviews for two or three days.  After all the news hype had settled down, it was time for me to prepare for the National Spelling Bee.  This time, it was the Consolidated Word List that I studied.  I probably should have prepared more, but I’m not really sure it would have helped me in the end.  When I wasn’t doing school work or studying for spelling, I helped my mom and dad plan for our long trip.  We thought it would be a good to have a vacation before the bee, so we went to New York City for a week and then on to our nation’s capital, Washington, D. C.  New York was amazing and we visited so many places.  We saw two Broadway shows, went to the Statue of Liberty, visited the Bronx Zoo, ate New York pizza, and had a great time.  Then it was on to DC.  Before the actual spelling began, there was a picnic with all the spellers and their families.  There we had a great time, playing games and eating.  But the next day came the hard part:  the written test.  Unlike the oral preliminary rounds, you couldn’t prepare for these words.  Additionally you had to spell 50 words, but only 25 counted--and you didn’t know which those were!  However, it wasn’t as bad as I expected, and thanks to some good guesses, I thought I did well.  The oral rounds were easy after studying, and I correctly spelled "fraulein" and "limitrophe."  Then I got the written results.  I had missed three words:  "isochrime" (isocryme), "bouleversement" (boulversimant), and "Apollyon" (Apaulion).  So I had a score of 28.  I knew that made it close for getting into the semifinals and that made the hours before the announcement even more nerve-wracking.  Finally, though, the time came for the announcement.  I was elated when they announced that speller 27 was a semifinalist.

     The next day I once again had no idea what they were going to throw at me.  I got lucky in the first round, getting "musteline."  But in the second round of the semifinals I got "caprifig."  I had no idea what it would be, and the schwa really got me.  It could be an "a" or an "o" or an "i."  I went with "o."  That was incorrect.  I hindsight, I don’t think it was a very good guess, but most incorrect guesses seem bad in hindsight.  Anyway, after recovering from the realization that this was it, I gave a few interviews, and then watched the rest of the semifinals.  We also watched Shaq vs. Kavya Shivashankar, which was a cool experience.  On the premiere of that show last week, it even showed me, my mom, and my dad watching the spelloff.  That night I also watched the finals.  There was only one more event before the week wrapped up.  That was the Awards Banquet.  It was a night of good food and good memories.  After the banquet, there was the Speller’s Farewell Party, where we let loose and danced to music until midnight.

     Spelling has made a huge impression on my life.  At first, I didn’t know what I would do without it.  But George Thampy, a staff member, former National Spelling Bee champion, and a Harvard graduate, gave a speech at the Awards Banquet.  He talked about us going on to bigger and better things.  I realized that was true.  I will take college classes as a high school freshman this year.  Who knows what kind of opportunities will open up?  For all you spellers out there, I encourage you to keep spelling and studying hard.  If you start early and study regularly, you could end up like I did--or maybe do even better.  I know I got a lot out of spelling.  Scripps gave me $400, but more importantly, a lot of memories.  Even more memories have come from spending time with Mr. Schaefer and my peers at Summer Semantics, and going head-to-head against them in a spelling bee.  Although I’ll spend that money eventually, the memories will last a lifetime."

- Brian King

 
Brian King update:  In 2013 Brian received his Eagle Scout award. This year Brian graduated from Colorado Springs Early Colleges Charter School.  He will attend Baylor University this fall on a full scholarship.  He plans to focus on mathematics, computer science, and Spanish.  Congratulations Brian!
 
Now a junior at Baylor University, Brian plans to graduate in 2018 and pursue a PhD in statistics.  For the past year he has been studying in Helsinki, Finland, and Santander, Spain, as an exchange student.  He is rowing on the Baylor University crew team.

 



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