(NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.) — Akash Vukoti of San Angelo, Texas, may be the youngest contestant — and the first first-grader — ever to reach the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but he was in it to win it.
“I knew all the words they gave, not just to me but to every speller,” Akash said Wednesday after his first appearance on the big stage. “My goal actually is to get to the finals.”
This year, the 6-year-old joined 284 other children to compete in the national spelling bee for a trophy and $40,000 in cash, among other prizes. Akash would strike out later Wednesday when he misspelled the word “bacteriolytic.” A tweet from the National Spelling bee Twitter account confirmed the misspelling.
— NationalSpellingBee (@ScrippsBee) May 25, 2016
Earlier Wednesday, Akash walked on the stage, adjusted the microphone and correctly spelled “inviscate.”
At the age of 2, he’d already participated in his first spelling bee. He said he practiced daily with his parents and teachers.
“It takes lots of studying time to win up your bee,” Akash told ABC News. “I prepare with a dictionary.”
Akash said that when he wasn’t prepping for spelling bees, he enjoys playing in the park and swimming in pools.
And thanks to his appearances on the Steve Harvey Show, as well as Harvey’s talent show, Little Big Shots, thanks to his spelling skills, he’s changed his mind on what he wants to be when he grows up.
He said he’s opted not be an astronaut and wants to be an actor instead.
The Spelling Bee finals air Thursday.
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