The yearly National Spelling Bee takes place the week after Memorial Day and is open to children of primary school age. This year’s competition featured the youngest speller ever to compete in the event, 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison (above) of Lake Ridge, Virginia.
Lori Anne competed against children twice her age and held her own in the early rounds of the event, spelling “dirigible” (a gas-filled airship) correctly and helping a grown-up reporter struggle through spelling “slobberhannes” (a card game). Unfortunately, Lori Anne lost the opportunity to move on to the semifinals when she misspelled a word very few adults have even heard of: “ingluvies,” the widened portion of the esophagus in birds and insects.
“I just love spelling, so I’m really excited to go to next year’s bee,” Lori Anne said in a press conference the day after the event. Less exciting was the hour-and-a-half wait for her turn to spell, which “seemed like two millennia,” she said.