How Frank Dumas Made a Name For Himself at 10-Years Old
- July 19, 2022
- Posted by: Black and Belonging
- Category: Ethos of Excellence
Frank Dumas IV recently participated in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, representing North Carolina, the Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs, and Bethesda Elementary School. The 10-year-old is a testament to the excellence that can be achieved through dedication and community support.
Frank Dumas IV sat down with Bethesda Elementary School alum Ariel Green as part of her Black and Belonging Youth Research Fellowship. Black and Belonging seeks to amplify youth voices and help them to develop skills that will serve them throughout their life journeys. The interview, which took place at Black-owned co-working space Provident1898, delved into Frank Dumas’ preparation and how his parents and classmates were supporting him.
“Keep Trying. Find what you’re good at and what you like and just become better and better at it.” That is the advice that Frank Dumas has for kids who look up to his success. This promising scholar puts a lot of time and effort into improving his spelling and creating tactics for approaching unfamiliar words. His family, including his twin sister, regularly quizzes him on word lists in preparation for each round of competition. His mother, Kenya Dumas, Ph.D., uses her experience in spelling bees to help him prepare for the competition. Frank Dumas says his three most used techniques are:
- Finding the etymology of the word. His Spanish and French knowledge helps greatly with this.
- Breaking words down into smaller familiar words.
- Sounding out the syllables to find vowel placement.
He is also unafraid to shake off the nerves that come with competing in spelling bees. The feeling of having so much attention on him while competing was a little overwhelming at first. He first experienced it in his school spelling bee at Bethesda Elementary. Over the course of the spelling bee he was able to overcome his jitters through the encouragement of his classmates.
His mom helped Frank to build his confidence for the Regional Spelling Bee through watching motivational videos and inspiring movies. Frank says this helped him to find the courage to participate on such a large stage.
The support of his friends and family has been the driving force behind Frank’s preparation. His mom, dad, and sister have provided him with endless resources and assistance. Frank Dumas says his extended family is proud of his accomplishments. His aunt watched the Bethesda Elementary Spelling Bee online, and his grandmother organized a party to celebrate his achievements. The support of his classmates and school has also been overwhelming. Frank says his classmates made signs wishing him luck for both the Regional and National Spelling Bees, and even threw him a send-off celebration.
Frank Dumas is a member of a school program called We Are Kings. This club is a hub where children from a variety of backgrounds can learn about history and practice leadership and interpersonal skills. The lessons Frank Dumas learned in Kings has helped him navigate the recent media attention and embrace his spotlight with grace. This program has given him the ability to encourage others around him to be the best version of themselves.
After their trip to Washington, DC for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Frank’s mother shared that he “is enjoying this experience and proudly walking through the doors that continue to open on this journey.” Although Frank did not make it to the finals during the national competition, he remains focused on getting better and better each day. Dr. Dumas went on to note that “he is still determined to continue learning and is driven to return next year! He also met his idol, the Scripps National Bee Champion from 2021 who aspires to be a NASA scientist and a WNBA player, Ms. Zaila Avant-garde.” In addition, Durham Mayor Elaine M. O’Neil proclaimed June 21st, 2022 as Frank Dumas IV Day! The proclamation was read by Ward 3 Council Member Mr. Leonardo Williams at the Durham City Council Meeting.
When Frank Dumas is not spelling up a storm, he likes playing video games and basketball. He dreams of becoming an NBA player when he’s older. His favorite team is the Golden State Warriors. It would be his dream to play with them. Frank, thank you for representing the best of Durham, North Carolina and exemplifying the heart of a champion!