Before 7-year-old Faizan Zaki takes the stage at this year’s national spelling bee competition, he will take the stage to sing with his first-grade class in Allen, Texas.
Zaki is the youngest participant in the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee. When asked how he felt about being the youngest speller, Zaki replies, “I just feel normal.”
However, Zaki isn’t like most 7-year-olds. For one, he loves astronomy.
“And my favorite thing about astronomy is like hypothetical objects like carbon stars and quasi stars,” Zaki says.
He also loves science.
“This is a periodic table, and it has 118 elements,” he explains.
Not only does he know most of the elements by memory, but he knows how to spell them all, too.
As for his favorite things to spell? Zaki says he loves long words.
But even with his superior spelling skills, his parents are still shocked by his success. As a first-grader, he beat out sixth-graders to win his schools spelling bee. He eventually earned a spot on the national stage.
“He loves it. I mean he loves the learning and words, and so that has been like, you know, it's just been very easy,” says his mother, Arshia Quadri.
Zaki’s parents said they started studying words with him for fun.
And even through they’re practicing a little bit more now, it’s still about having fun.
“We just want him to be happy and, you know, experience that,” Quadri says. “You know the whole experience of going to the bee.”
“And if he can spell a few words there and get to a few rounds, then good for him, that would be amazing,” says his father Zaki Anwar.
To those with a dream, Zaki says to try hard and keep trying.
“If you try, then you can probably win next time,” he says.