Spelling champ heads to Scripps National Spelling Bee | ParkRecord.com

Spelling champ heads to Scripps National Spelling Bee

Brody Dicks and his parents wanted a glimpse of what was coming.

After the Weilenmann School of Discovery fifth-grader won The Park Record Spelling Bee in March, earning a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, he watched the film "Akeelah and the Bee." It depicts the story of an 11-year-old girl who participates in the famous competition and was an eye-opener for Dicks.

"That gave him a good dose of reality, I think," said Elizabeth Dicks, his mother. "He saw just what he’d gotten himself into — how serious it is and how much hard work he had ahead of him. But I’ve seen him work harder on this than he has anything in his life so far. We’re really proud of him."

The Scripps National Spelling Bee begins Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Brody Dicks will be competing against 284 other spellers to be crowned the best in the world. But don’t expect the talkative word whiz to be overwhelmed by the moment.

"I think he understands the magnitude of it," Elizabeth Dicks said. "Although you wouldn’t ever tell because he is just like Joe Cool. That’s not his general personality, but under pressure he is just super cool. That’s a great gift to have for someone who’s going to be up in front of thousands of people in any situation, much less with a microphone, spelling words."

For his part, Brody Dicks admitted to being nervous — "This will be the most people I’ve ever seen in one place," he said — but he will be well-prepared when he steps up to the microphone. Since winning the The Park Record Spelling Bee, he has studied the two long lists of words Scripps provided him for up to four hours a night. As the competition nears, he’s simplified his studying to a narrow focus.

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"Now I’m just reviewing the ones I missed," he said.

Added Elizabeth Dicks: "It’s been intense. He’s pretty motivated, although he is a kid, so he needs reminders sometimes of course. He’s really got a great attitude about it for the most part."

While the spelling bee is the big event, it’s not the only thing Brody Dicks will be looking forward to in Washington, D.C. Spellers also get to participate in a Memorial Day picnic and tours around the historic city.

"That’s probably actually what I’m more excited for," he said.

For those who want to see Brody Dicks in action, the Scripps National Spelling Bee will be televised on the ESPN networks. The preliminary rounds on Wednesday will be aired on ESPN 3. The semifinals will be shown Thursday on ESPN 2, while the finals will appear on ESPN later that day. For more information, visit spellingbee.com.