Keller district student hopes to be letter-perfect in Scripps National Spelling Bee

Posted Tuesday, May. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Keller school district sixth-grader Ansun Sujoe attributes his good fortune — being a contestant in the Scripps National Spelling Bee — to his unshakable Christian faith and to the help of his parents.

“My parents helped me, and of course … God helped me,” he said. “God gives us the knowledge to learn.”

Ansun is one of 281 contestants participating in the bee this week just outside Washington, D.C. The 12-year-old from Parkwood Hill Intermediate School joins 17 other Texan spellers.

“His memory is God-given,” said Ansun’s father, Sujoe Bose. “We used to give him memory tests when he was younger and he was able to retain everything after hearing it once.” The tests included memorizing entire Bible verses when he was just 4.

Ansun’s mother, Angel Bose, added, “His memory power is so awesome.”

Ansun has been practicing for months. With the help of his dad’s constant tests, he learned not only the correct spellings but also etymology, peculiarities and patterns.

Ansun and his dad easily drained lists containing 1,500 words at least two or three times. And they even pored over the dictionary.

“I’m confident,” Ansun said. “There is no need to be nervous.”

Besides his parents, his younger sister, Hephzibah, his school principal and two teachers are with him in Washington to cheer him on.

The preliminaries of the national bee, which include two oral exams and a written test, are Wednesday. Only 50 spellers will continue to the semifinal Thursday afternoon. At the semifinal, spellers will take a second computerized test, a new requirement this year.

In the end, only 12 spellers will earn enough points to move to the championship round Thursday night. The semifinals and finals will be televised on ESPN2. The winner receives $30,000, a $2,500 savings bond and a trophy.

On Tuesday, spellers had to do more than just spell: They also had to provide definitions, another addition to this year’s bee.

“It raises the enthusiasm,” Sujoe Bose said. “I think it’s a good way to not just learn words but to learn the vocabulary.”

Ansun is no stranger to intense competition. His math skills landed him a spot on the Fort Worth All Star Team in a state math competition in March.

“We didn’t know which subject to concentrate on,” his mother said.

The state math competition and the regional spelling bee, which Ansun won, were days apart.

“He has a strong passion for math,” Angel Bose said. But he has to balance out both subjects to not “lose concentration” for the spelling bee, she said.

“I love how math has a lot of numbers, and yet you can only get one answer,” Ansun said.

That love for math has Ansun convinced that he wants to be just like his dad: a computer science engineer.

His parents, originally from India, think the bee is good preparation for Ansun’s future, especially when he takes college admission exams.

And Ansun, Speller No. 240 in the national bee, has history on his side. The last five winners of the national bee were of Indian descent.

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