Could you spell cerumen? Could you spell it with hundreds of eyes pointed at you, under a time limit, while being judged? That’s the word John Doner of Fremont needed to win the Chronicle Spelling Bee.
Doner was in his fourth year of competition. He’s never had the benefits of special tutors as his parents couldn’t afford it. Both worked and weren’t able to help him study. So, Doner set up his own training regimen.
The seventh grader studied words four hours a day for 10 months. He’d get up at 4:30 am to get some time in before school. He studied the dictionary from cover to cover. He made a special tool so he could read word pronunciations without reading the spellings.
His parents didn’t not pressure him to compete. He was a hard worker so they didn’t need to push him. In fact, his father was so sympathetic that after he came home from work he did his son’s chores.
Doner’s hard work has paid off. This win entitles him to a spot in the National Championship in Washinton, D.C. at the end of May.