An Eagle Academy Charter School sixth-grader won the 2013 Alaska State Spelling Bee on Friday, March 1 at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.
Bryce Tasso, 12, correctly spelled “neuropathy” to win out of a field of 139 students.
“I was super excited,” Bryce said in a phone interview a day after becoming the state’s top speller.
Bryce will represent Alaska at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., on May 28-30.
Bryce, who finished in the top 10 last year, said he wasn’t nervous in his second state bee.
“He knew what to expect this year,” Bryce’s father, Rob Tasso, said.
Bryce entered the bee prepared. For a month, he said he studied every word on a list of potential words spellers could face, which was given to each state competitor.
“He worked real hard and it paid off,” Rob said.
Rob said his son has always had a knack for spelling.
“It just comes natural to him,” Rob said.
That was evident when Bryce correctly spelled “geanticline” — a word even Microsoft Word flags as misspelled with a red, squiggly line. Getting “geanticline” correct put Bryce ahead of the two other finalists. All Bryce had to do was spell his championship word for the win.
Bryce’s love of books also contributes to his spelling ability. Rob said his son has been reading above his grade level for years.
“He’s always been gifted since he was a toddler,” Rob said. “He’s always been above and beyond.”
Rob has seen Bryce win other academic awards, but none higher than the state spelling bee.
“This is the biggest,” he said. “It was huge.”
And there’s no reason why Bryce can’t top that in May, Rob said.
“He’s a really special kid,” he said.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727.