1998, 1999: Christopher Butschek

Christopher Butschek 1999

Christopher Butschek, 29

• Current city of residence: Houston

• Occupation: Director of business strategy for a small oil company called Express Energy Services

•  Years won: 1998, 1999

• School: Hallettsville Junior High School

• Grade: Seventh, eighth

• Winning word: Conjunctivitis; 1999 word is not available

• Parents: Kenneth and Theresa Butschek

Q:How did winning change your life? A: One of the biggest things, in my opinion, is I never had a fear of public speaking in the way that someone gets paralyzed. I am not the least bit afraid to walk into a room and speak to a room full of people shoulder to shoulder and speak intelligently.

Q:How did winning affect the career you are in?

A: I'm not sure it necessarily had a drastic impact on my career path. I've pretty much been locked into what I wanted to do since I was 14.

Q:What advice would you give to this year's spellers?

A: I know a lot of kids when I was at the spelling bee in D.C. were breaking down the etymology of all the words. But I think memorization works. It worked for me and my sister. And the earlier you start, the more time you have to study.

Q:Are you still a good speller?A: Yes.

Q:How far did you advance at the national spelling bee? A: The first year, I advanced to the first round. The second year, I advanced to the second day and the fourth round.

Q:What prize did you win?

There was a big trophy, a dictionary that must weigh 40 pounds, and I think there were some smaller couch prizes.