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A Q and A with Farmington's spelling champ

Dodge Middle School student Drake Rodriguez beat out 20 other students to win Farmington's spelling bee. He will represent the district at an upcoming regional bee.

Drake Rodriguez is a soft spoken guy. The son of Amy and Eric Rodriguez of Farmington, Drake's an eighth grader at Dodge Middle School. He's also the 2011-12 District 192 Spelling Bee champion.

Rodriguez beat out 20 other middle school students to earn the title of spelling bee champ during the Jan. 19 spelling bee held at Boeckman Middle School. He'll advance to the regional competition, which will be held March 10 at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.

We talked to Drake about his accomplishment.

Why did you sign up for the spelling bee?

I've always been good at spelling. It's my favorite thing to do in school.

Did you sign up by yourself, or did Mrs. Smith ask you?

I signed up.

You say it's your favorite thing in school. Do you spend a lot of time reading then?

Yeah, I like reading.

Do you find your words there?

Sometimes. Other times I just, like, sometimes if I don't know how to spell a word I try to think of how it would look. How I think it would look and if it looks correct or not.

How did you prepare for this spelling bee?

I didn't, really. I am for the next one. Studying for the next one.

When you were doing the bee over at Boeckman, all of the other kids were writing down their answers first on the white boards and you weren't. What was that?

I just already knew most of those words.

Yeah, for the last word, just to make sure it was correct, and I think I used it for my first word, too.

What was the hardest word you had?


I thought so. You kind of got lost or kind of had to stop and rethink that one, didn't you?

I got lost in the middle of the word. Well, while I was trying to make sure I was correct, I got lost at one point in the word I was.

So when you came back to school the next day, and you're the spelling bee champion, did they make a big deal of it?

Yeah. A lot of people were telling me congratulations.

You're advancing to the region competition and you said you're studying more for that. What kinds of things are you doing to prepare?

Ms. Smith gave me a packet. It tells you what type of words, based off of different languages, we're going to be using. It has a list of the words so you can study those in case they use those.

How much time are you going to put in on getting ready?

I usually just read, I go over the words in the packet and look at the packet and go over every word in it.

You're going to be representing Farmington. Is that kind of a big deal?

Yeah. A lot of people have been asking if it's just me or if there are other people, too.

But it's just you.


Are you excited for that then?


Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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