For What It’s Worth

This girl can s-p-e-l-l

Okay, so you can spell cowboy, but can you spell Vaquero?

Lori Anne Madison can. And did. Spelling it made her the youngest speller ever eligible to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

I, too, can spell Vaquero, but I’m three score and plus years older than Lori, which means I’ve had mucho more years to practice.

Lori, you see, is only 6 years old. That’s right, 6.

This makes her the youngest speller ever to win a spot in the national bee. A news report quotes Mike Hickerson, the Bee’s communications manager, as saying that since the Bee started keeping records in 1993 there have been four spellers 8 years old, but Lori is the first at age 6.

She almost made it last year at age 5. She finished in the top five in her local contest and was determined to do better this year. She did.

Lori, who is from Prince William County in Virginia, beat out 21 other spellers in the county bee to qualify for the national bee.

Her parents told the news media that Vaquero was a word that had tripped her up before and that she had been working on it. So, when she stepped to the microphone this time and was given the word, she immediately spelled it correctly.

I find it interesting that Lori is home-schooled. This should not be a surprise because home-school students have a track record of doing well in competitions such as the spelling bee and the geography bee.

During my years as a university professor, I found home-school students a pleasure to work with. The ones in my classes had self-discipline, met deadlines, understood directions and how to follow them, showed respect, and had good work habits. Frankly, I don’t recall having a home-school student that I remember as a whiner, complainer, or problem student.

We did not home-school our children, but I can appreciate why so many people do today. I constantly hear or read about problems in the public schools and have friends or relatives involved in education who verify the problems faced today.

No doubt, Lori Madison is working hard in hopes of making it through the rounds to come and still be in the competition in May when ESPN televises the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals. Good luck to her, and I hope she has the type of success I can spell.


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2 Responses to For What It’s Worth

  1. Cindy says:

    One of those 8-year-olds was last year’s contestant from Olathe! =) She won our local spelling bee again this year, so maybe she’ll meet young Lori at the national bee. Another interesting fact about Olathe’s 2012 contestant is that her sister won the national bee in 2009.

  2. I couldn’t spell vasq… vasqu… whatever! Home schooling has, I think, possibilities. However, it requires a parent capable of doing the teaching, and so many aren’t. I do worry a little about socialization for home schooled students, thought I know there are activities for them.

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