Chatfield sixth grader Maxfield Brevick is the second place winner of the Southeast Service Cooperative's annual regional spelling bee.
Chatfield sixth grader Maxfield Brevick is the second place winner of the Southeast Service Cooperative's annual regional spelling bee.
Maxfield Brevick loves the bee for the tchotchke.

He's minding his imams and gulags.

"My favorite spelling word is 'tchotchke'," said Chatfield Elementary School (CES) sixth grader Maxfield, who competed in the Southeast Service Cooperative's (SSC) regional spelling bee last Tuesday, Feb. 12, and received second place in the afternoon session. This achievement advances him to compete again in the final bee on Tuesday, Feb. 26, and if he were to win at that bee, to compete in the Scripps' Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

He competed against 25 other students in fifth through eighth graders from across southeast Minnesota this past week after winning the CES spelling bee on Jan. 30, during which CES fifth and sixth graders and Chatfield High School seventh and eighth graders came together to test their spelling savvy.

Preparing for the regional bee took approximately two weeks of study.

He related, "I spent several nights studying, and a lot of that, I owe to my mom. I like words...I like to hear words, but I like them better, though, when they're spelled out on paper. The best way to remember a spelling word is to spell it out inside your head. There, at the regional bee, they provided paper for us to write the words on before we actually said them."

Maxfield is no stranger to academic competitions, having conquered geography and math bee challenges in the past.

"My favorite subjects are math and social studies," he shared. "I do enjoy reading. I like informational books, nonfiction. I also like video games and badminton."

Standing onstage at the SSC regional bee didn't upset his nerves, as knowing that his parents were in the audience listening helped him feel more at ease.

"I wasn't really that nervous," Maxfield said. "I was very excited. I was feeling good, just a little bit nervous, but not much. I knew most of the words, but a few threw me off at the end. I got some extremely hard words, like 'imam.' When you think about the words, they're simple, but it's hard to think of them and spelling them in your mind."

Maxfield said the word he lost on was "gulag."

"I thought I probably had a chance at winning because at the contest they said that six finalists would go to the regional final. Besides getting a chance to go to the finals, I got a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card and a trophy," he added.

Maxfield is ready to take on the next level of spelling bee buzz with confidence.

"If I win that, I'll get to go on to the state or national spelling bee," he shared.

If he were to finish well and be sent to the national bee, Maxfield said he would probably feel really glad and happy, but mostly surprised that he was able to make it to the national bee.

He concluded, "It's getting a little bit harder, but I'm still excited. I just think it's interesting being inside a challenge, knowing that I could win or I could lose. It sounds exciting, a little bit scary...just a little bit."