Dean Creedon, a fifth-grader from Oceanside, is set to compete Wednesday in the second and third rounds of the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee and learn whether he will advance to Thursday's semifinals.
Dean, 10, was one of 278 spellers who took a computer test in Tuesday's first round. That score will be combined with Wednesday's results to see who advances. No more than 50 spellers will move into the semifinals, where the top prize is a $30,000 scholarship.
Dean, an avid reader who holds a brown belt in karate, said he is enjoying the contest and his visit to Washington, D.C., where he plans to tour the White House and the Capitol. "It's pretty awesome here in Washington," he said. "I am having a lot of fun."
Bee director Paige Kimble is expected to announce the semifinalists Wednesday after the third round ends at 5:15 p.m. All other spellers will be out of the competition.
Corinna Creedon, Dean's mother, said he felt good after the test. "He went into it nervous and came out of it happy, so that is a good thing," she said.
He has had help preparing from two-time Long Island winner Zachary Zagorski, also of Oceanside, and Zagorski's brother, Jason, who competed locally as a sixth-grader in 2010. Dean also credited his father, Shawn Creedon.
"The person who helped me the most is my dad," Dean said. "He was always there for me, and when I needed someone to quiz me, he helped."
The championship round takes place Thursday from 8 to 10 p.m. The Bee is being held in the Maryland Ballroom at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.
Dean's classmates at Oaks School No. 3 in Oceanside are rooting for him, principal Beth-Ann Castiello said. "We are thrilled. We know he is going to do exceptionally well," she said.
Also competing is Lori Anne Madison, 6, from Woodbridge, Va., the youngest speller in this year's contest -- and the youngest speller on record with the Scripps National Spelling Bee.