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BEE a Part of Henry's Dream!

$2,660 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 52 people in 4 months
You’ve probably heard people talk about how you shouldn’t give up on your dreams, how you shouldn’t let anything get in the way of achieving your ultimate goal...

Well, my dream is to compete in the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee!

Since 3rd grade, I’ve been participating in school and regional spelling bees. I’ve developed a love for words and their applications, forms, and most importantly, spellings. It is my dream to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and I’ve come very close very many times. Both last year and this year, I placed second in the regional spelling bee. Only the winner receives financial sponsorship to go to the national finals. Since my first school spelling bee win in 4th grade, when I went on to place 10th in the Regional Bee, I have aspired to reach my biggest goal before it’s too late.

Students in grades 3 through 8 are eligible for the Scripps National Spelling Bee and this is my last possible year to participate. I know that if I don’t commit and follow through, I will regret it for a very long time.

Last year, the Scripps National Spelling Bee launched a program called RSVBee which allows school spelling bee winners to enter the national contest, stating that it is their “sincere effort to take a step toward fairness.” They cite three reasons for this need for more fairness:

1. Different numbers of programs per state: Some states, such as Ohio, sponsor as many as 18 regional champs to pay for travel and admittance expenses, whereas other states, such as Georgia, send only one speller even though 1,300 schools in the state participate! Colorado, which I am bidding to represent, only sponsors two champions even though more than 340 schools participate in the program.
2. Areas with no sponsor: There are many areas in various states that have local sponsors who pay for trips to Bee Week, but there are many that do not. By entering via RSVBee, a speller may make an effort to get sponsorships from their community.
3. Varying levels of competition: Many large cities have increasingly competitive programs in which a speller may spend each year of his or her eligibility coming in second to the same speller. This is precisely the situation in my regional bee in Boulder, CO: the same speller qualified for his 3rd trip to the national bee in 5 years this year. Coincidentally, when he didn’t win last year, he entered the National Bee via RSVBee and was one of the 50 finalists! AND, a speller from Texas who entered via RSVBee last year actually WON THE WHOLE THING!
 
The cost of self-funding participation in the Scripps National Bee is substantial. There is a $1,500 entrance fee in addition to air travel ($500), a requirement to stay 6 nights at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center ($2,500) and meals and incidentals ($500). I plan to go to local businesses and ask for sponsorship, and together with this page, I hope to bring available funds to a level where my family and I can pay for the rest.

I hope my story inspires you to support my goal. I thank the Scripps National Spelling Bee for providing this opportunity and making it possible for me to fulfill my ambition. Thank YOU too, for being a part of my dream. Please help send me, Henry Stauch, to Washington D.C. to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee from May 26 to 31, 2019!
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My spelling bee journey is officially over. It seems so long ago that my third grade teacher told me that I was going to my school spelling bee, a huge accomplishment at the time. Only one year later, I won and advanced to the Boulder Regional Bee. There, I became familiar with the atmosphere of a real spelling bee, in all its grandeur and excitement. I remember asking my mother after that bee, “what if I got second?” She told me something along the lines of “that would be an amazing accomplishment”. I had no idea that I would get second in that bee not once but twice, and eventually even go to Washington DC for the esteemed Scripps National Spelling Bee.
That had been my ultimate goal since I had first heard of a spelling bee. It seemed so far off, having to conquer not only your school but also the entire Boulder region to qualify. Throughout this experience, I was shown the unequivocal importance of study and effort. I was only able to achieve that high a standing among my peers by memorizing over 1100 words on the regional list, and I stuffed my brain further after I finished that to prepare for the dreaded off-list section. In the end, it came down to a coin toss, one L or 2 Ls, for a shot at a free ride to the National Spelling Bee. I spelled “bolus” with two Ls, and my last chance for this dream, five years in the making, was erased. I had never even considered the possibility of paying $5000 to keep my spelling career alive and see the blood, sweat, and tears pay off. I never could have pictured all of my friends and family, no matter how distant, showing their care and support for me and making it possible for me to travel 2000 miles and go toe to toe with those who would prove themselves to be the greatest spellers of all time.
All in all, Bee Week was an experience that will hopefully last forever in memory. We saw the best of Washington, from the National Mall to the Smithsonian museums even to the most friendly waiters and waitresses I’ve had the privilege to meet. On Monday, the spelling began. Almost everyone spelled correctly and moved on, due to having been given the words that would be used that round. Now, the next round, which I had the same day, was a little more complicated. The claim is that the words are at the same level throughout the entire round. The first word was replica. This obviously made me a feel a little more secure. Then the words started ramping up. After the fact, I could only remember a few words other than mine, I was so nervous. I do remember, however, that soon after the first word, they started getting harder. It seemed that there was a steady increase in difficulty level up until a few spellers before me, when it seemed to drop a little. I surmised there must be a pattern of easier, then increasingly harder words, and then back to easy, and increasing again. With this in mind, I went to the mic with the speller before me having spelled “omitted”. I was, needless to say, feeling confident. I tried to greet Dr. Bailly, the pronouncer, but I found that my throat had closed up and all I could force was a weak “hello”. He reciprocated and then gave me my word: “symptomatology”. The spelling “symptomitology” immediately popped into my head. I got all of the information available about the word, and pictured it with every other vowel in place of the i. None of them looked right. Thinking back, I realize that I rushed severely, and only used 1:15 of my allotted two minutes. It just seemed like there was no other possible spelling than with the i. “S-Y-M-P-T-O-M-I-T-O-L-O-G-Y. Symptomatology.” And thus ended my five-year run in competitive spelling. I remember the rest with surprising clarity: the surprise on the face of the woman who led me off the stage when I told her no, I didn’t need to sit on the “comfort couches” for a little, that I could just go back to my parents’ seats. I remember leaving shortly after, bored watching other people spell words like [___________]. I remember having the odd combo of seafood and pizza for dinner, watching The Theory of Everything that night, and going to bed at 11:30. I remember being more content than anything else coming off the stage, and the moment when I wanted to jump for joy when I realized that I had no more studying to do. The rest of the week I enjoyed with museums, monuments, and watching the historic final rounds in which not one, not two, but eight dedicated spellers were crowned champions of the National Spelling Bee. I am writing this on the plane home, and it’s just now sinking in what I’ve been told all week: it doesn’t matter how you did as long as you had a blast, made friends, and learned a wealth of knowledge that will without question give you a leg up on your peers in the future. I can’t thank each and every donor enough for paving my path to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
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Made it to DC, walked the mall and saw all the memorials yesterday. Spelling officially begins tomorrow!
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Update: Thank you all so much for your thoughtful and gracious donations! I officially have a spot in the bee, so there’s no turning back. The money we’ve raised on GoFundMe has put a serious dent in what we need to fund this trip. I’ve been doing yard work and other jobs to lower the cost even more, and with the help of people like you, the financial issue of the trip has become a much smaller problem. Even so, it is not completely resolved, so any more donations, great or small, would be infinitely appreciated!
I’ve been studying whenever I can, using a couple different sources. I recently bought a book, Words of Wisdom, written by a former top-ten speller, that is a collection of words very likely to come up in the bee. He was able to find the best words for the competition by observation of bee panelist habits, word recycling, etc. I also have a subscription to spellpundit.com, which has catalogued painstakingly every possible word in the National Spelling Bee. It has had 100% of the words used in the bee somewhere in its modules every year. I hope to go into the bee well enough prepared to make a respectable run!
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$2,660 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 52 people in 4 months
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