VERO BEACH, Fla. -- He spelled “crematorium” to win The 2014 Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers Regional Spelling Bee.
Now 14-year-old Jonathan Buckley will be heading to The Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C at the end of May.
His teachers credit his hard work to his success. But, they also credit his ability to focus and overcome his learning challenges to landing a place on the national stage
Buckley, an 8th grade student at Saint Edwards School in Vero Beach, says he’s always been a good speller. He noticed it in second grade. “I could spell basic words, but I was able to master them sooner than most of the other people I knew,” he said.
One of his teachers, and advisor, Scott Mohr, says Jonathan is a stand-out in the classroom. “When Jonathan speaks and spells you can just see this higher level of thinking,” Mohr said. “He really has a gift.”
Mohr knows he also works hard to overcome his A.D.H.D. It's a learning disorder that makes it harder for him to focus.
“What we’re all about here is turning your challenges into a gift and he’s just the poster boy for that,” said Director of Learning Support Services, Camille Greene.
Greene says she has worked with Buckley to help pin-point how he learns best.
For Buckley, he spends his nights studying words on a computer. Greene says he learns best when he can see and hear the words.
“A.D.H.D is a gift. If you channel it in the right way, it really is a gift,” Greene said.
Buckley says he’s nervous, but feeling prepared, hoping his hard work will spell out success when he takes the national stage.
“His possibilities are endless, whether it’s the spelling bee or whatever he chooses to do,” said Greene.
Also locally,14-year-old Brian Reinhardt, from The Weiss School in Palm Beach Gardens, will be joining Buckley as a contestant in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.