The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) announced its support of Scripps National Spelling Bee participant Neil Maes, who is deaf. Maes will be competing in the annual national spelling bee held May 22-May 27, 2016, in National Harbor, Md. For the competition, Maes is being sponsored by the Anderson Independent Mail, Anderson, SC.
In advance of the spelling bee, AG Bell will host Maes and his parents at a special media briefing on Tuesday, May 24 at the historic AG Bell Volta Bureau. Maes, who has bilateral cochlear implants, and his family will share their challenges and triumphs in their journey with deafness to the national spelling bee competition. After hard work and dedication—and countless hours of speech-language therapy—Maes will share the stage at the National Spelling Bee with his peers from across the nation, demonstrating the possibilities for children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.
During pre-competition interviews, Maes will discuss how he uses cochlear implants and other hearing assistive technology to overcome barriers, continuing to defy skeptics with each accomplishment as he advocates for people with hearing loss. What some may see as a disadvantage, he has used as an opportunity, showing the world the true definition of tenacity.
According to his profile as “Speller #213” on the Scripps National Spelling Bee website, Maes has been playing basketball since first grade. He has two sisters, one who is seven and one who is five. His youngest sister also has cochlear implants. Maes plays piano and has performed in several recitals. During his free time, he loves to read, play, or ride his bike, and also enjoys helping his mother cook. When he was in the 3rd grade, he placed 2nd at his regional spelling bee. His participation in the Scripps National Spelling Bee marks his first trip to Washington, DC.
Source: AG Bell; Independent Mail
Image credits: Scripps National Spelling Bee; Frances Parrish, Independent Mail