Ethan Pennington was not surprised when his classmate, Brent Henderson, made it to the semifinals of the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Ethan Pennington was not surprised when his classmate, Brent Henderson, made it to the semifinals of the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
It was something, he said, that Brent had worked hard to accomplish.
“This is the second time he has gone, so I thought we would see him go far,” said the eighth grader from Moreland Ridge Middle School. “When he would get his work done in class, I would see him grab his spelling book and study words. He took a lot of time to prepare for this.”
A handful of students watched the semifinals of the National Spelling Bee Thursday, which featured Brent, 14, as one of 41 spellers who advanced from Wednesday’ preliminaries. Brent spelled the word, “Uruguayan” correctly in the fourth round, but was eliminated when he spelled the word “cicatrize” (to heal with the formation of a scar) incorrectly in the fifth round.
“I think he did really good,” said eighth grader Trevor Atkins. “He has always spelled good, and I know I could never spell those words.”
Brent made it through the first three rounds, which included a written test, by spelling correctly the words “discreet” and “oleiferous (producing oil). The competition, which started with 293 spellers, was narrowed down to only 11 in the finals, including Kavya Shivashankar, an eighth grader from Olathe, Kan.
“Brent is a very dedicated student who wants to do well,” said Moreland Ridge principal Kevin Grover. “He worked so hard for this and put in a lot of time studying and preparing. We are very proud of what he has accomplished.”
Eighth grader Cole Schrankler said he was excited to have the opportunity to see Brent on ESPN. He said his practicing and preparation is what got him to the semifinals.
“It was awesome to see him on TV,” he said. “I think he did a great job in making it that far.”