Teacher who mentors Waco spelling whiz Vihaan Sibal is named Scripps National Spelling Bee Teacher of the Year

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 6:59 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A local elementary school teacher who Vihaan Sibal, the Midway ISD student who placed third in this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, credits for much of his success has been named the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee Teacher of the Year.

It was Vihaan’s nomination that led to the nationwide recognition for third grade South Bosque Elementary School teacher April McAdams.

National Spelling Bee Manager of School Relations Kim Harp announced the award at the banquet Friday evening in National Harbor, Maryland, saying it’s teachers like McAdams who go above and beyond that give competitors the tools they need to succeed.

“Our local sponsors and the classroom teachers are the epitome of dedication. More than that they’re our heroes. I’d like to recognize one of those heroes now, our Teacher of the Year” Harp said.

“The winner of the 2022 Teacher of the Year award is Mrs. April McAdams of Waco, Texas, who is a third-grade teacher at South Bosque Elementary School.”

A picture of McAdams was shown on a screen while the room clapped.

The 22-year teaching veteran, who has spent the last six years in the Midway ISD, was back home in Central Texas, so Vihaan took to the stage to accept it on her behalf.

Vihaan said it was an honor to accept the award for his former third grade teacher who he says changed his life.

Vihaan Sibal with South Bosque Elementary School teacher April McAdams.
Vihaan Sibal with South Bosque Elementary School teacher April McAdams.(Courtesy Photo)

“I think she totally deserves it with everything, just what everything she’s done over the years,” Vihaan said.

McAdams competed in UIL spelling herself from elementary through high school at China Spring on a team that once advanced to state.

She was also a Beta Club member who advanced to represent Texas at a national spelling bee competition in Missouri.

McAdams took what she learned as a speller and has spent years passing it on to students.

For the past five years, she’s been the school’s spelling bee coordinator, organizing the classroom and school spelling bee. She also follows the students as they advance to the Central Texas Spelling Bee and beyond.

Vihaan knows her support first hand.

In 2018, the first year he qualified for the national competition and the same year he was a student in her classroom, McAdams made the trip to Washington, D.C., to cheer on Vihaan in person.

Vihaan is quick to point to McAdams for getting him where he is today and he’s written two cards she’s saved over the years that spell it out perfectly.

One reads, “Dear Mrs. McAdams, Here is the Bananagrams set I received for making it to the 2020 Scripps Bee. I would like for you to have it. Without your encouragement, I never would have made it this far.”

In another he wrote, “Thank you for being my #1 fan and supporter over the years. It means a lot to me, and it’s gone a very long way. Every child needs an April McAdams.”

For her award, McAdams was presented with a plaque, $500, airline tickets and a four-night stay at the Gaylord National Resort for next year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee.

She’s hoping when she goes, she’ll be alongside Vihaan, as next year will be the final year he’s able to compete.

Copyright 2022 KWTX. All rights reserved.