Read the whole thing at NPR:
Former spellers tend to lead successful professional lives, says James Maguire, who tracked years of national spellers for his book, American Bee: The National Spelling Bee and the Culture of Word Nerds. "Whatever the menu of things they're going to do, that skill of single-minded focus is going to help them. Not only can they do that — they can do it under pressure."
Maguire says almost all the former spelling bee kids wind up winning "at life," though not necessarily with careers working with words. More than half a dozen former champs from the past two decades excelled in math and science and went on to become physicians.