Bradford Academy seventh grader Will Jones made his way to Washington, D.C. this week for the annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.
Jones earned his spot in the national spelling competition for middle school students by virtue of his victory earlier this year at the Times-News spelling bee in Burlington. Jones successfully spelled the word “adenoiditis,” an infection of the lymphatic tissue in the throat, to take first place in the local competition and earn his spot in the national finals.
Jones made a strong showing at the national competition, advancing all the way to the third round. After making his way through a test in round one, Jones successfully spelled the word “tamari,” a type of soy sauce, to move into round three.
Back in Mebane, Jones’ Bradford Academy classmates were cheering him on as they were allowed to watch the live-streamed round three competition in nervous anticipation of Jones’ word - which could literally be any in the dictionary.
“Our Upper Campus was live streaming with (School Headmaster) Mr. (Jeff) Johnston too so they could watch it together,” a post on Bradford Academy’s Facebook account read. “It was a blessing to hear our students praying for their friend, and see them sitting on the edge of their seat eagerly waiting for No. 431.”
When his number was finally called in the third round, Jones stepped forward and was given the word “monology,” a term used to describe the habit of soliloquizing, or monopolizing conversation.
“As he carefully spelled each letter, the excitement was building,” the Bradford Academy Facebook account added. “Finally the classes erupted in cheers and shouts of joy as he made it past round three.”
Following his correct spelling of “monology,” Jones moved into the fourth round - a computer examination that would determine the final 50 spellers to move on to the nationally-televised final round. Unfortunately, Jones did not make it to the final round of 50 spellers, but he nonetheless represented himself, Bradford Academy, and the City of Mebane quite well.
“We are still so happy and thrilled for Will Jones. What an amazing experience,” the school stated. “We can’t wait to see him next week and to congratulate him on amazing fight for victory. We are looking forward to hearing directly from him about his adventure.”
Jones and his parents stayed in Washington D.C. to watch the final round. As a rising eighth grader, Jones will be eligible to compete in the 2020 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee, where he will look to advance to the finals.