Even if he bombs out this morning at the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee, Hagerstown resident Justin W. Warner figures there is nothing to be nervous about.
"If I lose, I still get $50 and I get a week off of school," said Justin, an eighth-grader at E. Russell Hicks Middle School.
That's not to say Justin is completely carefree. He said he felt his contest number thumping from his pounding heart during the Washington County Spelling Bee in March. This morning, there will be 125 contestants in his group alone - by far the largest group he has ever competed against.
"Other than that, I'll be fine," Justin said.
Justin, 14, arrived in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. On Tuesday, he toured Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate, with his father.
"It was interesting to walk on the same floor as George Washington and bump your head on the same places as him," he said.