Island Spelling Bee champ tripped up in third round

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Jasper Ralph, who won the All-Island Spelling Bee in March, competing at the National Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. — Courtesy ESPN

When Scripps Spelling Bee talk host Jamal Andress asked speller Jasper Ralph during an interview what he wants to be when he grows up, he said, “A statistician.”

Jasper, a fifth grader from Aquinnah, was eliminated Wednesday in the third round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md. Jasper tripped up on the word “statistician,” but that did not get his spirits down.

After hearing the bell and before exiting the stage, Jasper let out a final “peace out” and made a peace sign with his hand toward the audience.

Before being eliminated, Jasper had asked Scripps pronouncer Jacques Bailly for “an easy word, please,” to which Bailly responded, “Most of you make them all look easy.”

Jasper said he was surprised when he won the school bee, but his spelling success did not stop there. He then went on to win the Island Spelling Bee, sponsored by The MV Times, qualifying him for the national competition.

Jasper was also one of three spellers chosen to star in a short film called “Speller Things,” which promotes the bee and is a parody of the show “Stranger Things.”

“I want to be a music person,” said Jasper in an interview with Andress. “I like producing and stuff.”

The three spellers were allowed to give shoutouts to anyone they wanted. Jasper gave his shoutout to his West Tisbury School classmates back on the Island.

When Andress asked Jasper if he would be returning to the bee next year, Jasper replied, “No. It’s a lot of studying; my mom isn’t happy about that.”