2000: Katherine Butschek Osterhus
Katherine Butschek Osterhus, 27
• Current city of residence: Houston
• Occupation: Tax senior at Ernst Young, Houston
• Year won: 2000
• School: Hallettsville Junior High School
• Grade: Seventh
• Winning word: Hypotactic
• Parents: Kenneth and Theresa Butschek
Q:How did winning change your life? A: I definitely think that it expanded my horizons at a very young age. The first few years of college, I went back and volunteered at the bee. It opened doors very early. It exposed me to opportunities and experiences that I wouldn't have had if I didn't participate in the bee in junior high.
Q:How did winning affect the career you are in? A: There might have been certain influences, but it didn't affect it specifically. Maybe the global focus aspect of my job might have been affected by the bee.
Q:What advice would you give to this year's spellers? A: To push themselves and to really give it their all. Try to keep perspective. Regardless of whether you advance or not, the experience itself will stay with them. You learn certain disciplines just from competing and studying that you'll use forever.
Q:Are you still a good speller?
A: Oh, yes. Even here at EY (Ernst Young), people still to this day ask me how to spell things.
Q:How far did you advance at the national spelling bee? A: I went out in round three in the national bee.
What prize did you win at the regional spelling bee? I got a huge Merriam-Webster dictionary and a massive trophy. I think there were other things as well. I still have the dictionary.