Bryce Nguyen, Kenton Stump and Lila Wright
Bryce Nguyen, Kenton Stump and Lila Wright

B-U middle school student wins regional spelling bee, advances to nationals in Washington, D.C.

MORGANTOWN – A local Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School student spelled his way to the top at the North Central W.Va. Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday – a feat he said was not too D-I-F-F-I-C-U-L-T.

Bryce Thanh Nguyen, son of Vu Nguyen and Nguyen Tran, spelled the word ‘animus’ to win the regional spelling bee in Morgantown. He will move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. over the summer.

Bryce, who is in 8th grade at B-UMS, took first place at the Upshur County Schools Spelling Bee back in January to book his spot in the regional competition, along with two other Upshur County students.

In an interview with My Buckhannon following his win, Bryce said he awoke at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning to get in some extra study time before the competition.

“At 8 a.m. we left for Morgantown and the spelling bee,” he said. “I was so excited when I won and learned I won a trip to Washington, D.C. for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will be in June.”

Bryce has participated in the regional spelling bee three times, but this was his first win. He said he had a wonderful experience, with no particular part of the day standing out as a favorite — aside from winning, that is.

Along with a free trip to Washington, D.C. for the National Scripps Spelling Bee, Bryce won the Samuel Lewis Sugarman Award, which includes a mint coin set, a free online subscription to Britannica Online Premium and a free subscription to the Official Dictionary of the Spelling Bee.

Bryce does not know exactly where his career path will lead him; he would like to be a doctor, but at this time, he is not sure what field of medicine he wants to pursue. He wanted to thank everyone who helped him with his success, especially his mother.

“I really want to thank my mom, a lot,” Bryce said. “My mom was my mini-coach and she tested me on my words. She put things aside to help me study and always puts me first.”

Two other Upshur County students also took the stage to compete in the regional competition.

Lila June Wright won third place in the Upshur County Spelling Bee in January and took 6th place at the regional bee on Saturday. Lila is the daughter of Rodney and Daya Wright and is an 8th-grade student at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School. Lila said she, too, woke up early because of the excitement of the day.

“This was one of the quickest regional spelling bees I have attended, and it was pretty fun to watch and participate in,” Lila said.

Lila said she felt the words were not as hard as last year; the first word she had to spell was ‘ounce’ before she misspelled ‘affluent,’ which she said she thought only had one ‘f.’  Lila said she likes to read and spell and will continue to practice spelling words — and she plants to help Bryce prepare for the national competition.

“If Bryce and I had all of our work completed, we would practice spelling,” Lila said. “I will still practice with him before the national competition.”

Lila said she wanted to thank her family for helping her achieve success in the NCWV Regional Spelling Bee.

“I want to thank my family because they were really supportive,” Lila said. “My mom studied with me. Each day she would read the words out of the book and I would spell them. She would mark the ones I got wrong so I could go back to them later.”

During the Upshur County Spelling Bee in January, Kenton Stump took second place, and on Saturday at the NCWV Regional Spelling Bee, he captured 9th place, making it a top-10 finish across the board for Upshur County students. Kenton is an 11-year-old sixth-grade student at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School. He is the son of Joshua and Amberly Stump.

This was his second year coming in second place in the Upshur County Schools Spelling Bee.

In an interview with My Buckhannon Saturday, Kenton said his favorite part of participating in the NCWV Regional Spelling Bee was meeting so many new people.

“I had fun,” Kenton said, noting that among the words he had to spell was ‘melody.’

Kenton enjoys spelling – and since the spelling bees are open to students in grades 4 through 8, he will have a few more years to participate and showcase his spelling ability.

“I would like to thank my parents and other family members for their encouragement,” Kenton said.

Counties participating in the NCWV Regional Spelling Bee include Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Monongalia, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker and Upshur.

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