Mario Manchev is a fifth-grade student from Karlovo, Central Bulgaria. He is the youngest participant in the Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee, in which middle schoolers from around Bulgaria spell words aloud as fast and as accurately as possible. His strong performance in last year’s competition took him to the seventh-grader-dominated finals and earned him the nickname Super Mario.
Mario’s talent at spelling is obvious to anyone who has seen him in action: he handles even the toughest words with a smile. At the summer language camp for spelling bee finalists, Super Mario communicated fluently with the American teachers and impressed them with his English skills. He became his school’s spelling bee champion again this year and is also competing regionally.
In 2018, a record number of students qualified for the regional round of the spelling bee—622 participants from 311 schools nationwide. These students distinguished themselves not only with their English proficiency, but also with their composure under pressure and public speaking ability.
The names of the spelling bee finalists will be announced at the end of March. The reward for the 33 finalists and their teachers will be attendance of a week-long language summer camp, where they will be able to improve their English while making new friends.
The spelling bee is organized by the CORPluS Foundation with support from the America for Bulgaria Foundation, the US Embassy in Bulgaria, the British Council, ABO Language and Examination Center, and the Ministry of Education and Science.