Local boy participating in National Spelling Bee

Posted at 4:44 AM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 04:54:34-04

A Palm Beach Gardens teen is heading to Washington, D.C. for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Tommy Spurlin says he's ready for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

"My mom loved to quiz me on spelling, just spelling random words.  She said my favorite word to spell was umbrella," said Tommy. 

The 13-year-old recently won the regional competition to qualify to go to D.C.

"I won the school Spelling Bee in February and then the regional was at the end of February," said Tommy.

For a couple of hours every day, Tommy studies from a 2-inch thick dictionary or scans hundreds of words he could be asked to spell.

Tommy said, "There are just written lists where I can print it out and just study from those, each a different language. There's French, Italian, old English."

His teachers at St. Mark's Episcopal Church and School in Palm Beach Gardens are proud of the 8th grader.

Tommy's not just a good at spelling, they say he's a math whiz too.

Alesia Hoy of St. Mark's said, "For instance when he was in 6th grade he competed in a math competition and he placed first."

For now, Tommy just wants to spell his way to the top spelling prize.

"There is a $40,000 grand prize for winning the Spelling Bee, so that's pretty good motivation for anyone who wants to be good at spelling."

The Scripps National Spelling Bee will be held May 22 to May 27 in Washington, D.C.