Rice Middle School sixth grader wins 2nd at national spelling bee

Zaki after winning the 66th Annual Dallas Regional Spelling Bee. Photo courtesy of Plano ISD.
Faizan Zaki brought home second in the 2024 Scripps Howard Spelling Bee after a lightning round where he spelled 20 words in 90 seconds.

Rice Middle School student Faizan Zaki represented Plano in the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee last week, bringing home second place against 244 spellers from all around the United States and its territories, Canada, the Bahamas, Ghana and Germany.

After the first phase of the competition, 140 spellers were eliminated. By Wednesday, eight students moved on to the finals. Then, finally, it came down to Zaki and Bruhat Soma, a student from St. Petersburg, Florida. The two students went to a spell-off, an occurrence that has only happened one other time in the history of the Scripps competition. Soma spelled 29 words correctly in 90 seconds. Zaki spelled 20.

The second place ranking was no small feat. He first competed in the competition in 2019 when he was 7 years old. Then again last year, where he landed in 21st place.

As the second place winner, Zaki brought home $25,000. And, as the competition is for ages 8-15, nothing is stopping him from going back next year and aiming for gold.

“That’s still a major accomplishment, especially considering I got 21st last year,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “I’m just really happy. I am a little sad, but I am happy for Bruhat.”

Congrats Zaki!

Written By
More from Alyssa High
4 Instagrammable boba shops to support this AAPI Heritage Month
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and what better...
Read More
0 replies on “Rice Middle School sixth grader wins 2nd at national spelling bee”