At age three, Matthew was spelling words like octopus, hippopotamus, and chameleon. “Matthew has always had a fascination with letters and words,” said Cheryl Noel, Matthew’s mother.
As an eighth-grader, Matthew’s fascination with letters and words has championed him to win the District Spelling Bee five years in a row with his first win starting as a fourth grader at Bennett Elementary.
But it is more than a fascination that has helped Matthew succeed. It is time and dedication to learning. Matthew’s father, Michael, said Matthew commits hours to study word forms and the history of languages. “It is a major commitment in training,” he said.
Over the past five years, Matthew has seen his hard work pay off landing him twice at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
- 2017: Matthew wins 1st Place at the District Spelling Bee, Places 2nd at the Lubbock Regional Spelling Bee, and serves as an alternate for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
- 2018: Matthew wins 1st Place at the District and Lubbock Regional Spelling Bee, attends the Scripps National Spelling Bee as a competitor.
- 2019: Again, Matthew wins 1st Place in the District and Lubbock Regional Spelling Bee, attends the Scripps National Spelling Bee as a competitor.
- 2020: Matthew wins 1st Place in the District Spelling Bee, but the Lubbock Regional and Scripps National Spelling Bee are canceled due to COVID-19.
It is estimated that over 11 million students participate in local Spelling Bees. Of these students, only 250-500 have the opportunity to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Matthew has seen this national stage twice. His presence on stage is described as comfortable and confident.
“We are so proud of his dedication to learning and his grace in the face of intense competition. For a kid to be able to stand alone in front of an entire nation and have to face elimination at every round takes tremendous courage,” said Cheryl.
Matthew has plans to compete in the Lubbock Regional Bee in March. This will be his last opportunity to compete in the Spelling Bee, as next year he will be out of the age requirement set forth by the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
When asked about what it means to be the District Spelling Bee Champion for the fifth year in a row, Matthew said, “It means I get to represent Frenship well at the Lubbock Regional Bee. I am super proud of the competitors. It was tough this year.”
Frenship ISD District Spelling Bee Competitors
- Matthew Noel, Frenship Middle School, 1st Place
- Obarita Aarushi, Legacy Elementary, 2nd Place, alternative for the Lubbock Regional Bee
- Rex Dyal, Bennett Elementary
- Carmela Alvarez, Crestview Elementary
- Nathan Bolla, North Ridge Elementary
- Brooks Collier, Oak Ridge Elementary
- Julia Griffin, Upland Heights Elementary
- Kami Johnson, Westwind Elementary
- Mia Adams, Willow Bend Elementary
- Althea Doctolero, Terra Vista Middle School
- Saif Bernstein, Heritage Middle School