Student Spotlight: Ethan Mallon ‘19, Four-Time Spelling Bee Winner
Pick a word, any word from the Scripps School Spelling Bee list. Pick the hardest word you can come up with, one that would stump even the most verbose, loquacious adult. Maybe something like: “pterodactyl”, “aspidistra” or “ebullience.” Throw that word out to Grymes sixth grader Ethan Mallon ‘19 and watch as his brain goes to work. It’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment, but in a flash you’ll see him processing the word, breaking it down into smaller chunks and arranging the letters methodically in his head. The complicated inner workings of his mind are easy to miss because he remains utterly composed and unphased, and when he lists out the letters, it’s with total confidence. Odds are, the spelling of that word will be correct.
It should come as no surprise that Ethan won today’s Annual Grymes Spelling Bee for another year, making him the Grymes All-School Spelling Bee Champion for a record four years in a row!
The competition is fun for Grymes students, who qualify to participate and engage in a friendly contest for the much-coveted title.
Believe it or not, spelling is not a skill that comes particularly naturally to Ethan. “Sure, I enjoy it, but it’s not something I’d say is easy. I study the lists,” says Ethan when asked if he thinks of himself as a spelling whiz. Ethan attributes his continued success to hard work and preparation. “I study the Scripps lists really hard every year, and I also work with the regional book just in case we get past the yearly list in the Bee.” Ethan’s strategy: use his nearly photographic memory to picture in his mind where the word is within the Scripps list. “I’m a visual learner, and seeing the word in my mind helps me to break it down into chunks. I focus on the root word within the word and go from there.”
As a third grader competing against Upper Schoolers, it was quite an accomplishment to win his first Bee four years ago.
Now that the Grymes competition is over, Ethan will turn his attention to the regional competition in March, which he considers higher-stakes. “I would love to go to the nationals some day. That would be very cool.”
Cool indeed! We couldn’t be prouder of Ethan as he represents Grymes at the next level of competition in March and beyond! Congratulations, Ethan, four-time spelling champ!
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