PLATTSBURGH — Participating in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee had quite an impact on Northeastern Clinton Middle School student Connor Niederbuhl.
“It’s been a character-changing experience,” the 13-year-old told the Press-Republican from the Washington, D.C., area, where the event took place.
Niederbuhl was eliminated from the competition on Wednesday, when he incorrectly spelled “segue” in the second preliminary round.
“I was a little upset,” he said of offering “segway” as the word’s spelling. “I made a silly mistake because I was rushing.”
Still, taking the stage to compete against 280 other top spellers from around the world was exciting, the seventh-grader said.
And just for participating in the bee, he and his fellow competitors each received a Microsoft Surface tablet.
In addition, Niederbuhl made lots of new friends after arriving in the D.C. area on May 24 with his mother and stepfather, Heather and Edward Savage, and 4-month-old sister, Brianna Savage.
On Monday, he attended a bee-sponsored Memorial Day barbecue, which featured food, games and dancing.
Niederbuhl also enjoyed staying at the venue of the competition, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, in National Harbor, Md.
“The hotel is really nice,” he said.
Though Niederbuhl had hoped to tour the White House, he learned that visits there must be arranged several months in advance.
Still, he planned to visit the National Mall and attend the Spelling Bee’s awards banquet Friday before returning home today.
Niederbuhl earned a spot in the Scripps competition in March when he won the Champlain Valley Educational Services Regional Spelling Bee.
His trip to the national contest, as well as that of a chaperone, was sponsored by the Press-Republican.
Email Ashleigh Livingston:email@example.com