AIKEN, SC (WFXG) - Christian East came home from Schofield Middle School Tuesday with a big announcement.
"He came in yesterday and was like, 'Mom, I have something to tell you,"" Christian's mom, Constance East, said. "[He said], 'I won the spelling bee.'"
His mom said Christian wanted to surprise her, but Christian, who has a form of autism, said he was the one surprised when he won.
"To be honest, I was a little scared, but I never thought [I could] win, even though I was able to spell words," Christian said.
His mom said it's more than spelling though that she's proud of. Getting up in front of people wasn't always easy for Christian, his mom said.
"Christian has come a long, long way," she said. "He didn't used to talk. He would point to what he wanted and he wasn't the type of child that would get up and talk in front of people."
She said she's over-the-moon proud and is ready for round two of the spelling bee on Jan. 8.
"[It's] a new obstacle to jump over," she said. "He can, and he will do it."
The day of the spelling bee is also Christian's 14th birthday. He said he was hesitant at first to spend his big day competing, but has come around.
"It's my birthday for crying out loud," he said. "I would love to."
Constance said she hopes Christian shows other kids like him they can do anything.