Dean Alkhairy of Newport Beach returns to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, expecting a higher finish than last year’s solid showing

Dean Alkhairy, 13, is an old pro at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The Newport Beach resident competed last year, tying for 42nd place out of more than 500 participants.

That was impressive, but Dean thinks he might do even better this time around. “I keep improving,” he said.

The contest begins Monday, May 27, in Washington, D.C.

Finishing up seventh grade at Fairmont Private School in North Tustin, Dean spent months this year studying the vocabulary-building program “Word...

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