Fort Myers Middle student wins local spelling bee

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FORT MYERS, Fla.- Lee County’s spelling champion is just months away from representing Southwest Florida in the National Spelling Bee.

Jeffery Thompson’s principal is sharing his inspirational story. As WNK News found out, Thompson spends his nights studying at a motel, because he’s homeless.

It all came down to one word…


It was the winning word, for Fort Myers Middle Academy student, Jeffery Thompson, crowning him the Lee County Spelling Bee champ!

“It’s snails, they are not good,” said Thompson.

He says a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders when the found out escargot, was his final word.

“My face, it was like this….and then I went, ‘whew,’ when he gave me the word because I knew it, I actually knew it.”

Jeffery has been studying in a motel room..

“I wanted to run down the stairs and just celebrate, but they kept me up there for pictures, so I was like smiling.”

He is homeless, but isn’t letting tough times bring him down.

“He hasn’t let anything outside of school affect how successful he is going to be in school and in this competition,” said Principal Ron Schuyler.

Jeffery says he typically practices words with silent letters. Another word that helped him advance was one he was familiar with…

“C-h-a-s-s-i-s and it’s said chassis.”

He is now headed to Washington D.C. in May for the National Spelling Bee.

“He had some tough competition from public and private school students, for him to come out on top, says a lot about Lee County School and Fort Myers Academy, especially.”

The principal says they are hoping to send a school employee to Washington D.C. to help coach Jeffery. They are also looking to send him with extra spending money. They need to raise about $3,000.

To help you can call Fort Myers Middle Academy at 239-936-1759.

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