Hudson -- A 13-year-old Hudson Middle School student recently finished three rounds in the Summit County District Spelling Bee at the Akron Summit County Public Library.
Eighth-grader Zachary Kadish, who had not entered a spelling bee before, advanced to the fourth round of Summit County District Spelling Bee -- just short of making the nationals.
"I really liked it. It was pretty fun," Zachary said. "I've never qualified for anything before."
Zachary became eligible for the bee by taking part in a spelling exercise during the middle school morning announcements.
Zachary decided to enter the bee due to "pressure from peers," he said.
"It didn't seem like something I should drop out of," Zachary said.
The win qualified him for the school's bee, where he finished third. The placing qualified Zachary for the Feb. 16 Summit County Spelling Bee, which he won.
One or two people were eliminated during the first two rounds, Zachary said.
"When they got to round 3, about half the people got out," Zachary said. "The next round I lost."
Zachary was eliminated trying to spell "dichotomy."
Merriam Webster defines dichotomy as a noun meaning "a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities or the process or practice of making such a division."
The second 'o' sound threw me off," Zachary said. "I thought it was an 'e'".
Zachary, who enjoys science and reading web comics said this was his last spelling competition.
Zachary's parents, Matt and Barb, were in the audience cheering on their son.
"It was amazingly exciting and we are very proud of him," Barb said. "He was very calm, composed and confident."
The spelling bee was Zachary's first, Barb said.
"He's never won any spelling bees before, he is not someone who competes for this," Barb said. "We were in it for fun -- we didn't take it too serious."
Matt, who participated in a spelling bee when he was in school, said he was "extremely proud" of Zachary.
"I didn't get as far as he did," Matt said.
Zachary had gained a national following, through his dad's Facebook page, Matt said. Fans from across the country were asking for updates on Zachary's progress.
"He's smart and has always been a big reader," Matt said of his son. "He had great poise on stage, and was very supportive of the other contestants during and after the bee."
As a participant in the regional bee Zachary received tickets to the Akron Zoo, an Akron Racers game and free food from McDonald's.
"Zach is a very bright student with a prodigious vocabulary," Chuck DiLauro, principal of Hudson Middle School said. "He is a hard worker and a wonderful young man."