Alexander Talks Books, Writing, and His Spelling Bee Wins

Alexander excels at academics because he loves to learn and he sets the highest standards for himself. Both in and out of the classroom, his curiosity and focus have been lifelong traits

Q. You have self-published your own books — tell us about that? Where would one see one of your books? 

A. I have self-published two mystery novels and a poetry anthology inspired by my travels to France. Writing is a passion of mine and I love to tell stories! It’s very freeing and is a safe environment to express my emotions. You can find me writing all the time! One could my books for sale on Amazon (if you look really hard!).

Q. You also won an essay-writing award for last year’s Paradise Valley Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. What was that like?

A. Winning the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award was incredible for me. Dr. King is a huge inspiration, and when I won the award I felt connected to him. It was simply extraordinary to stand up on that stage and know that you are making a difference, no matter how small it was. I worked very hard on that essay and it taught me that working hard will pay off — I have put my best effort into everything since.

Q. You have won the PCDS middle school spelling bee multiple years in a row. What is your favorite word to spell? Do you ever get nervous on stage?

A. My favorite word to spell is “schadenfreude”, a German word meaning “pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune.” I love to spell that word not only because it has a cool spelling but because it relates to the spelling bee in that it is the exact opposite of what spelling bees are. Although it is a very competitive “sport,” each speller and audience member feels pain and sympathy for the person who is eliminated. The community aspect of spelling bees, that everyone is there for one another, is why I love them so much.

Q. You recently joined the Speech and Debate team — how are you enjoying this thus far?

A. Every afternoon after school I look forward to Speech and Debate practice, and the tournaments are the highlight of my month. Speech and Debate is so diverse and there are a lot of opportunities to try new things, which appeals to me since I am always up for a new, exciting challenge. I’m very competitive, so that part interests me as well. Most of all, I love the team facet of it, even though most of the events are solo. All of the kids in Speech and Debate have become a family to me; corny as it sounds, and they all push me to become the best person I can be every day. 

Q. When you have free time what do you like spending your day doing?

A. If I’m not playing tennis, practicing Speech and Debate, or going to school, you can probably find me reading or writing, or looking at maps. Piano has been a big part of my life as well, so I might be playing piano. Most likely, though, I would be writing a script or editing my next movie. I absolutely love filmmaking! Filmmaking has no formula, no recipe, so one can be as creative as they like. Working with my friends or with a crew also opens your eyes to others’ opinions and beliefs and helps you grow as a person. The most satisfying feeling in the world is when you’ve finished a movie, as it’s the culmination of all of the work you have done and results in something tangible you have created as a group.

Alexander is a seventh grader at Phoenix Country Day School.

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