State Spelling Bee Winner Prepares For National Spelling Bee

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- A Fort Smith student won the 2017 Arkansas State Spelling Bee. Now, he's preparing for the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

An eighth grader at Chaffin Junior High, Haris Rana has too many medals to count. They're a tangled mess in his study area.

When we asked him what the toughest word he's spelled is, he said it was the last word he spelled in the state spelling bee.

"Chasuble," he said, recalling the word.

Rana had to guess how to spell it.

He got it right, though he'd obviously prefer he'd studied the word in advance.

"Mainly, I use the dictionary. I flip around for a few pages. Whatever words I don't know, I write down on a separate sheet of paper."

Some of the words he knows might surprise you. Like humuhumunukunukuapua.

"It's the Hawaiian state fish," he explained before casually spelling it out.

But Rana's interests extend beyond Hawaii's state fish. He was clearly fascinated by the 5NEWS cameras.

"And this is what interests me," he said, beaming, "the (television) industry."

But for now, spelling occupies the greatest deal of his time. He says he's excited, but of course, nervous, too.

"I'm definitely freaking out because this is my first time, so a lot of people in Arkansas have faith that I can do really well," he explained, "So I want to bring that over to the national stage. I'm pretty excited to go."

Rana hopes to add one more medal to that tangled mess.

The National Spelling Bee runs May 28th through June 4th.

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