A Hart Middle School student came in second place in the regional round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and now he plans to use that training to help others at his school.
Rohan Gupta, 14, made it to the final two at the March 19 competition after dedicating his free time to studying for the bee every year since fifth grade, he said.
"Going that far made me feel happy, and I've made new friends because of this," he said. "I've always had a love for language."
He got his start in elementary school and earned sixth place in his school's spelling bee, his mom Reena said. Since then, he's made it to the CBS Bay Area Regional Spelling Bee each year, but this is the closest he's ever gotten to qualifying for nationals in the highly competitive match.
She said Rohan has put in many long hours into preparing for the competition.
"We felt really good that he was able to get so far," his mom said. "The bee is just a goal, but the dedication is just amazing."
While he's disappointed he didn't qualify for the national round -- he missed "sciolto," and a San Jose student secured first place -- he's putting his energy into mentoring other students at Hart Middle, especially in subjects like vocabulary.
Rohan started the Peer Mentoring Program at Hart, a club where students help other students learn new skills and help with difficult school subjects. He said he hopes to help other students learn new vocabulary words, and maybe he can help some younger students prepare for next year's spelling bee.
Reena Gupta said her son got the idea for the program after tutoring one student at the urging of his teacher. She said he came home excited, the seed planted for his program. He told his mom: "If I can help the one child, I can help others, also."
"Whatever he does, he tries to take it to the next level," his mom said.