What to Know
- Rodrigo Medinilla, a 7th grader at Pinecrest Academy Charter Middle School, is competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
- Medinilla completed round three of the competition Wednesday morning. after spelling the word “ecclesial” correctly.
Twelve-year-old Rodrigo Medinilla’s future isn’t quite spelled out yet, but he may just “bee” on his way to student stardom.
The Miami native, a 7th grader at Pinecrest Academy Charter Middle School, is competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, one of the oldest spelling competitions in the country. It’s Medinilla’s first time participating in the bee, but the South Florida student is already moving forward.
“I worked hard to get here, and I’m going to keep working hard, because I want to win, obviously,” he said. “[But] if I don’t, it’ll be fine. I got here, and that’s the greatest part of the experience.”
Medinilla completed round three of the competition Wednesday morning. His correct spelling of the word “ecclesial” (meaning: relating to the church) is launching him into round four of the competition.
“Now I have a big chance of going to the semifinals, with God’s help,” he said. “It’s been really fun, it’s been nerve-wracking because now we’re on stage in front of everyone else, but it gives me a weird sense of security,” he said
And Medinilla isn’t just well-versed with words. His friends and family call him a “human calculator” for his ability to solve complex math problems in his head. The South Florida student was also a contestant on NBC’s “Genius Junior” in May 2018.
On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio invited Medinilla to a private tour of the U.S. Capitol and White House.
“It’s just amazing because the fruits of my labor, as I would call it, have caused this, and also the generosity of Marco Rubio,” he said.
Other words Medinilla has spelled correctly on his journey through the spelling bee? Potash, impetuous, koan, verboten, maladroit, fusi, acervation and annelid.
You can stay updated with the Scripps National Spelling Bee here.