People in Enterprise were abuzz Wednesday as they pulled for their native son in the National Spelling Bee.

Ayden Nguyen, 11, will enter sixth grade this fall. He previously won the state competition and was the only competitor from Alabama in this week’s national competition in Maryland.

Nguyen will come back to Alabama as the pride of Hillcrest Elementary School.

In the first round, Nguyen correctly spelled vilipend. He then correctly defined analgesia and correctly spelled liripipes.

In Wednesday’s quarterfinals, he was eliminated when unable to correctly spell aubade

On March 16, Ayden bested 52 expert spellers from across Alabama. At the state competition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Ayden avoided elimination over a grueling 17 rounds of spelling competition. He earned the state title and the trip to the nationals.

What an experience of a lifetime for an 11-year-old.

Ayden remained positive after his elimination. “This is mainly my experience year,” Ayden said. “I will work to come back next year.”

Jim ‘Zig’ Zeigler’s beat is the colorful and positive about Alabama. He writes about Alabama people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths. He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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