Filipino spelling bee champion is Scripps competition-bound

A 12-year-old Filipino American immigrant is making his way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May, after winning first prize at the Post and Courier Spellbound Regional Spelling Bee last week — becoming the number one speller in his area.

Brent Earl Ebarleh moved from the Philippines with his family to Berkeley County, South Carolina in 2014.

Brent says he was initially uncomfortable speaking in English, and was even enrolled in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESL) at his elementary school.

Just three years later, he’s won several spelling contests, and is now on his way to Washington DC — to one of the oldest and most iconic spelling bee competitions in the nation.

“I was very excited that I won this, because I have never been on the Nationals,” Brent says. “I didn’t really know all the words… and I just guessed it. And I guess I was lucky.”



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