PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 teen made Arkansas proud Wednesday as the only student from the Natural State to compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Jackson Parker, an 8th grader at Paragould Junior High, made it through two preliminary rounds Wednesday.
Parker spelled sputnik and longanimous correctly.
Parker's English teacher Krystal Hooten told Region 8 News that while spelling comes naturally to Parker, he worked hard to get to this point.
"At this level, once he won state, he got a giant dictionary and it's mostly just anything is game, anything in that dictionary," Hooten explained. "He did have a list of 600 words but most of it was just study on his own from a dictionary."
Parker was one of 214 out of the original 283 students who spelled both words correctly.
But before the oral rounds, students had to take a written test.
Those scores were combined to bring the number of semifinal contestants from 214 down to 49.
Though Parker was not among those who moved on, he and the other students to compete Wednesday all received a Surface 3 from Microsoft.