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Alice student represented Coastal Bend in Scripps National Spelling Bee

Posted at 9:00 AM, May 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-02 15:06:45-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — One student from Schallert Elementary School in Alice, Texas, took the stage in the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Tuesday

11-year-old Jaxon Escobar qualified for the national competition after winning his regional competition.

“I started studying a lot more. On the plane ride over here I studied through all of it,” Jaxon said.

Jaxon has been soaking up the week long experience in Maryland, including meeting a role model of his.

“I was like, no I'm not going to get Dr. (Jacques) Bailly. I don’t know if they were going to take a break or not… He’s a very iconic person. He has been, I think over 15 years as a pronouncer at the spelling bee,” Jaxon said.

Nervous yet excited, Jaxon took the stage during the preliminary round. In the preliminary round, competitors must spell a word correctly and then give the definition of another word through multiple choice. Unfortunately, this is as far as Jaxon got.

“I first off pronounced Dr. Bailly’s name wrong, I said "Dr. Beely." And then, I spelled my first word right, it was “Theravada.” And then, I got my definition wrong,” he said.

It's not how Jaxon wanted it to go, but the whole family was proud of him.

“Just as a mother sitting there watching my fifth-grade, soon-to-be sixth-grade son there, getting to experience this was—honestly, felt surreal. And, felt like a dream come true,” said Lori Canales, Jaxon's mother.

Jaxon also got support from a surprise guest.

"His teacher came from the AISD, which was really awesome. The Alice Independent School District sent his favorite teacher here," Canales said.

Jaxon had fun with the whole experience of being at the national spelling bee.

Outside of the spelling bee, competitors had several activities they could take part in such as a basketball game, World of Warcraft games, and more. He also received a signature book and has been trying to collect signatures from not just fellow spellers, but Bee employees as well.

Being his first year, he now knows what to expect.

“The root words, knowing the root words, are very important,” he said.

"I talk to several other parents whose children were still in the competition and what they all told me was that it's important to know all the roots. Without that it's kind of hard to get far in the competition," Canales said.

Jaxon is already looking forward to making a run at next year's Scripps National Spelling Bee

“He’s a go "getter." He’s going to work hard. And, we'll do what we need to do and he’ll do what he needs to do to get back here and hopefully, god-willing, get further in the competition next year,” Canales said.

The 95th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee kicked off Tuesday morning, and 231 spellers from across the country were in Maryland for the 3-day competition.

KRIS Communications is the proud sponsor of 11-year-old Jaxon, and we congratulate him for making it all the way to the National Competition.

For more information on the 95th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, visit their website here.