Tampa student prepares for national spelling bee

Riju Datta spends 2 to 3 hours per day preparing

TAMPA, Fla. - When he was in just the second grade at Corbett Preparatory School in Tampa, Riju Datta displayed a knack for words.

Soon he could put his spelling prowess on national display when he competes in the Scripps National Spelling Bee at the end of May.

"He's a great kid that has this propensity to learn a language and love it," said Vickii Johnson, Datta's second grade teacher.

Datta, now in the sixth grade, will travel to Washington D.C. to go head-to-head with 280 other students from all over the nation.

Datta's mother, Jhuma Nath, told ABC Action News that Datta practices two to three hours every day.

"It just makes us feel very happy and honored to participate at the national level," Nath said.

Datta believes developing one's ability to spell can help hone other useful skills.

"In spelling, you have to be a good listener, and you always have to be reflective and think on what you're going to say," Datta said.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee will run May 27 through 29. Part of the competition will be broadcast on ESPN 2.

The champion will receive a prize of $30,000.

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