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Illinois boy heads again to National Spelling Bee

May 23, 2014

FORSYTH, Ill. (AP) — A 13-year-old boy from central Illinois is headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee for a fourth time with hopes of success there and beyond the world of words.

Yasir Hasnain of the village of Forsyth, just north of Decatur, is already thinking ahead with plans of one day becoming a neurologist. And the same focus he applies to spelling is already aiding other endeavors like playing saxophone and piano. Still, the eighth-grader admits to being a little jittery about entering high school next year.

He’s been bearing down in an attempt to make it to the semi-finals of the spelling bee, which will be held next Wednesday and Thursday outside of Washington, D.C.

“For the past three years I’ve realized how hardworking you have to be to get there, to the semifinals, so I’ve been working really hard this year. Much harder than I have for the past three years,” he told the (Decatur) Herald & Review (http://bit.ly/SrMOo5 ).

All the study has yielded a new favorite word: eisteddfod (eye-STEHTH’-vawd). It’s a Welsh word for a competitive arts festival.

In other mental gymnastics, Hasnain can recite more than 100 digits of pi and solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than a minute.

His proud father, Mohammad, says of the boy’s achievements, “this is just the beginning.”

“Whatever he has done is a big achievement for him and for us, too, but at the same time, he has a long life to go, a long way to go, and ... I hope that he can continue to use these skills.”

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Information from: Herald & Review, http://www.herald-review.com

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