Isaiah Henry, a Talented 5th Grader from Orange County, Set to Shine at the Prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee

Isaiah Henry is an imperturbable, defiant, gallivanting and equanimous fifth-grader who has secured a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. His love for reading across various subjects has led him to become a spelling prodigy. Isaiah, representing Grady Brown Elementary School in Hillsborough, won first place in the 2023 Duke Regional Spelling Bee, securing his spot in the national competition. The Duke spelling bee, held over Zoom, had 17 other participants up to eighth grade.

While Isaiah is excited to go to Washington D.C. for the national competition, he also admits to feeling a little scared. The family will be staying at the Gaylord National Resort for six nights. Isaiah’s love for reading has helped him develop his spelling skills, and he estimates that he reads one to two hours a day. His favorite books include the Percy Jackson series, and he enjoys reading books from the fantasy genre. However, his favorite subject in school is math.


Isaiah won his class’ spelling bee, then his school’s and finally the Duke Regional Spelling Bee. He is all set to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is scheduled to happen from May 30 to June 1. Isaiah will turn 11 years old this month and loves exploring the woods behind his house, playing soccer and video games.

Isaiah’s dad, Joseph Henry, believes that his love for reading has helped him become more familiar with words. Joseph is thrilled about Isaiah’s achievement, and he said, “We are really excited about it and it was kind of a surprising thing. Him and his mother, they have that gene. Me and his sister do not.”

Isaiah is looking forward to competing against other spellers from across the country and is eager to demonstrate his spelling skills. With his love for reading and passion for spelling, there’s no doubt that Isaiah is well-prepared for the national competition.

Written by Pasan Nanayakkara

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