Snoqualmie fifth-grader headed to national spelling bee

Declan Mallady will be the only student representing Washington on the national stage.

Declan Mallady, a fifth-grader from Snoqualmie Elementary School, will fly to Washington, D.C., toward the end of May to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

He qualified for the bee following his recent first-place finish out of 73 contestants at the Regional Spelling Bee of King and Snohomish County. In the 15th round of the bee, he spelled ringent correctly, securing the win.

Declan is the first elementary student to win the regional bee and will be the only speller from Washington state competing on the national stage among 244 other students in grades one through eight.

“He’s super excited to get the chance to go and be doing it,” Declan’s mom Kimberly said. “It’s going to be nationally televised so he’s nervous for that part, but definitely excited.”

Outside of spelling, Declan’s true passion is math. He also enjoys reading, solving chess puzzles, playing piano and participating in his school choir and running club.

“No, honestly, I did not,” Kimberly said when asked if she ever imagined taking Declan to the National Spelling Bee. “I thought maybe by the time he’s in eighth grade, maybe we’ll make it to nationals, but I certainly didn’t think he’d be doing it this year.”

Declan is studying a list of 4,000 possible words on the Scripps spelling bee app to prepare for the national spelling bee, but he has a natural instinct for words, Kimberly said.

“On the way home from the regional bee, he asked me if I thought he would win, and I told him no, just being honest with him,” Mallady said. “He told me, in a happy way, to stop underestimating him.”

The Scripps National Spelling Bee takes place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just outside of D.C., from May 28 to May 30, and is available on ESPN or ION.

For more information on competition schedules, visit

Declan and his mom Kim Mallady at the regional spelling bee. Photo courtesy of Kim Mallady

Declan and his mom Kim Mallady at the regional spelling bee. Photo courtesy of Kim Mallady