CHAMPLAIN — Northeastern Clinton Middle School student Connor Niederbuhl hopes his ability to spell will land him an appearance on the small screen.
“I’d like to make it to the televised part," the seventh-grader said of his goal for next week's 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Niederbuhl earned a spot in the prestigious contest, held annually near Washington, D.C., when he became the grand champion of this year's Champlain Valley Educational Services Regional Spelling Bee in March.
As a result, the Press-Republican is sponsoring the 13-year-old's trip to the national contest, as well as that of a guardian.
There, Niederbuhl will compete against 280 other spellers in second through eighth grade from around the globe.
The competition will kick off Tuesday with a four-part, computer-based test that requires contestants to not only spell words but define them, as well.
“Remembering the definitions is hard, but I've been studying what root words mean," Niederbuhl said.
In fact, the local "spellebrity" has been taking bee preparation quite seriously.
“I’ve been studying every night," he said.
Rounds two and three of the bee preliminaries, set for next Wednesday, will each require contestants to correctly spell one word aloud onstage in order to remain in the contest.
Niederbuhl is likely to reach his goal of appearing in the televised portion of the competition, as all spellers will participate in round two, which will air live on ESPN3.
Still, the computerized-exam scores of those who make it through round three will determine whether they advance to the semifinals.
No more than 50 spellers will move on to round four, which will also take place on Wednesday and consist of another four-part, computer-based test.
Rounds five and six will be conducted on Thursday in the same manner as rounds two and three.