Matthew Dufour, a fifth-grader at Superior Middle School, represented Northeast Ohio in the Scripps National Spelling Bee last month with support from Browns Give Back.
Dufour, who lives with his family in Ashtabula, advanced to the third round of the national event in which only the top spellers from across the world compete in Washington, D.C.
In order for that to happen, Dufour captured the Tri-County Spelling Bee (Lake/Geauga/Ashtabula) championship and earned a trip to the biggest competition of them all. Against that backdrop, Browns Give Back — which sponsors the Tri-County Spelling Bee and its winner — helped ensure Dufour and his family would be in for a remarkable and enriching experience.
Dufour was among more than 500 spellers from across the world. He breezed through a preliminary test — a written exam of 30 vocabulary and definition questions randomly selected from the dictionary — and then spelled "Thames" correctly in Round 2, which was streamed on ESPN3. Unfortunately, in Round 3, he spelled "enfeebled" incorrectly.
Even so, Dufour and his family sought to make their stay in the nation's capital a memorable one. They visited monuments, memorials and museums — including the United States Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian National Museums and the Botanical Gardens — and tried foods from different cultures. Along the way, Dufour met other spellers and students from around the country and across globe.
Considering Dufour began studying the spelling bee in October, he and his family now approaches the summer with some much-deserved downtime. He'll be part of his local YMCA's summer swim team and attending multiple camps, including one for robotics and another for video game design. Not to mention, he'll continue to pursue musical hobbies of playing the piano and violin.
Dufour will start studying again next fall in hopes of returning to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, hoping to use this year's experience as a launching pad for future success.