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Mark Witter Jr.
Mark Witter Jr. (Mark St.Clair / S&S)

Name: Mark Witter Jr.Age: 11Title: Bamberg Elementary School spelling bee champ(Day job: 6th grader in Ms. Tucker’s Class)

So you said your favorite subject in school is science. Do you think it’s important to know how to spell when it comes to science? No.

Hmm. OK, what’s your favorite part about science class then? Experiments. I like making stuff like volcanos.

Do you mean making models that erupt using things like baking soda? Yes.

You said you like experiments. Can you spell a scientific word? How about hypothesis? H-Y-P-O-T-H-E-S-I-S.

Wow. Sounds right to me. Do you remember what word you spelled to win the contest? No, not right now. One of the words was “critical,” though.

Can you spell that for me? C-R-I-T-I-C-A-L.

Had you even been in a spelling bee before? Yes. I was in one before.

Did you win that one too? No. I came in third place. It was in El Paso.

Do you get worried when you’re up there? What are you thinking? If I’m going to get my word right or not.

I hear that some kids practice before a spelling bee. Do you practice? No.

And there’s a spelling club here at your school. Do you go to that? No.

So you’re telling me that you don’t practice and you don’t go to spelling club and you just go in there and beat everybody? Yes.

Wow. What did your parents say when you won? They said they knew I could win the spelling bee.

You have a little brother and three sisters. Did they care if you won? Not really.

Did you know you could win? Yes.

Did you get anything for winning? A certificate? A trophy? I got a trophy.

Do you think it’s important to know how to spell? Like in English class? Yes. If words aren’t spelled right, you get points taken off.

Sounds like you’re a pretty good student. Do you get good grades? As and Bs.

That’s great. So what do you really want to be when you grow up? I want to be a Motocross rider ... (I like) the stunts that they perform.

Interview by Mark St.Clair

Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Send the person’s name and contact information to: news@mail.estripes.osd.mil

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