Valley Student Hoping to Spell Victory at the National Spelling Bee

Visalia, CA Jared Caballes' mom, Anna, says the key to winning a spelling bee is: "Practice, practice, practice! That's the most important thing!"

Jared has been doing a lot of practicing since winning the Tulare County Spelling Bee this past winter. The eighth grader from Visalia is one of 288 students in the country participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. This year is the largest pool of students ever to compete.

Jared Caballes says, "It's been really hard especially with all the words and the schoolwork I have to do. I try to make as much time as I can every day."

Jared studies two hours a day, which is a lot considering he's on the honor roll, a yearbook editor, and preparing for finals at Valley Oak Middle School. Jared has his own strategy to learn how thousands of words are spelled. Jared says, "I try to think of ways that would make the word easier like tryto break it up into syllables to memorize it."

Jared has a photographic memory and likes to read words first before spelling them out loud. Words that are checked or highlighted are ones Jared is working extra hard to learn. Misti Corrales, Jared's spelling coach, says, "He knows them all! He's actually doing a really good job. It's amazing."

Jared will fly to Washington, D.C. with his family on May 25th. He'll first take a written and oral exam which happens to be on his 14th birthday, May 26th. If he does well enough, he'll compete in the quarterfinals which will be broadcast live on ABC. The biggest advice Jared has been getting? R-E-L-A-X.

Anna Cablles says, "Being there is already a big accomplishment. We're very proud of him."

Jared says he's excited but nervous to represent Tulare county in the competition. Most of all, he wants to enjoy himself. Jared says, "Probably meeting new people and just the experience.

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