WAYNESBORO, Va -- People from all over Waynesboro were cheering on middle school student, Sam Pereles, as he advanced to the finals in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Teresa Dudley works at Kate Collins Middle School where Sam attends school. She went to a watch party at McAlister's in Waynesboro.
"We've had it on our computers, we've listened, and we've watched what we could," says Dudley.
Right down the street, Sam's brother and sister held their own party with dozens of friends.
He's been keeping in contact with Sam through the entire competition.
"I told him how proud I was of him, he's been doing a real good job of making Waynesboro really proud of making the area really proud," says his brother Zack.
They cheered him as he went on stage, but Sam got a letter wrong for one of the words and was taken out of the competition. His brother was clearly upset, but still proud of what he's accomplished.
"He was one of the top 12 spellers, there were eleven million kids that started this process and he came 12th, so I can't be disappointed," says Pereles.
He and his sister Rebecca think that Zack may even inspire others.
"I mean he made it to the national spelling bee, hopefully other kids think that's cool and think that they can be just like him," says his sister Rebecca.