Local youth wins Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge

By: Meredith Taylor
By: Meredith Taylor

He is what some would call a genius.

Joe Shepherd lives in Waynesboro...and if his name sounds familiar, it's because we've talked to him many times about ranking high in the National Spelling Bee in Washington.

Now he has a new title: winner of the Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge.

Joe's competed several times in the National Spelling Bee, but this was a different type of competition.

"I wasn't sure about how I would do, just because I hadn't been there before and hadn't seen it before," he said.

He had all the right answers.

The winning word?

"It was 'interstitial'," Joe says. "A narrow space between two things."

It's a word most of us probably don't know.

"I read a lot and I think that's one of the things that helped me," Joe said.

Obviously, it does pay to increase your word power.

Joe is not sure where he's going to college, or his exact plans for his $25,000 scholarship prize.

But he tells us the trip to Universal Studios in Orlando was a very big incentive for him to make it to the top.


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