Houston/ Family & Kids
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Published on February 24, 2024
7-Year-Old Prodigy Zachary Teoh Spells Victory at Houston Independent School District BeeSource: Google Street View

Zachary Teoh, a seven-year-old prodigy from River Oaks Elementary School, has captured the crown of the Houston Independent School District spelling bee, clinching a victory that marks him as the youngest winner in the event's history. He took the HISD top prize earlier this month, spelling down opponents up to the eighth grade, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle.

His journey to spelling stardom started at a tender age, as Zachary first dazzled his school by becoming the youngest ever to win River Oaks Elementary's bee, when he was just a kindergarten student. This young wordsmith buzzed his way to victory, surpassing everyone's expectations. The Houston Independent School District's competition spelled, a new chapter in his blossoming career as he left competitors in the dust with his favorite word "cowlick," bringing a whole new meaning to the term 'top of the class', as reported by KTRK.

His unmatched spelling skill soon turned heads again when he bagged the title for the second year at River Oaks. His winning word in the HISD spelling bee was "fetticus," which he informed The Houston Chronicle reporter was another term for corn salad, his knowledge demonstrating an impressive command of language for his age. The boy's intellectual prowess does not stop there, though. Zachary has a thirst for knowledge that spans from devouring encyclopedias to chapter books. Even his teacher at River Oaks, Gemma McHale, highlighted his balance and passion for learning, ranging from spellings to historical events like the Battle of Normandy.

Despite his burgeoning profile,, the whiz kid remains unfazed. "I don't really think about being nervous. I know the words when they ask, so I just ask my questions and then I spell," Zachary told the Houston Chronicle. His parents, Michael Teoh and Joanne Yeap, attribute his success to providing an environment filled with resources, including books and spelling coaches, to foster his talents. Zachary's undeniable love for words was further disciplined by practice with an online tool, SpellPundit, and he doesn't shy away from the rigors of competition even at his young age. After his HISD triumph, while celebrating with his family and coach, what he wanted more than anything was to dive back into practice, his mother recalled with a laugh to The Houston Chronicle.

But it isn't just about letters for Zachary—the youngster also enjoys playing chess, delving into coding, and dreaming up technological innovations. He's already got his sights set on creating a robot-run restaurant, an idea he excavated from his fertile imagination. Next on his agenda, he's gearing up for the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee hosted by Houston Community College on March 23. If victorious, the national stage in Washington D.C. beckons, per Houston Chronicle.