Joseph Yelich, superintendent of the Oneonta City School District, called Buddy’s win a “tremendous accomplishment,” noting the amount of effort and time that goes into preparation. Besides the obvious takeaway of learning how to spell, Yelich said, the experience provides children with the opportunity to grow as a person.
“It stretches a person’s comfort zone,” Yelich said. “This shows a willingness to challenge oneself. They are displaying what they know in a very competitive circumstance. Learning how to handle that level of pressure will help them all throughout their lives.”
Noorlander said his love of reading was his main preparation for the bee. His father said he hopes Buddy’s regional win will “light a fire underneath him” and inspire him to prepare for the National Spelling Bee in Maryland, to be held May 25-31.
“But,” Noorlander said, “I just hope he has a good time.”