At an age when most kids are still grasping for the foundations of the English language, a home-schooled 6-year-old from Woodbridge has bested her older peers and earned a place at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Lori Anne Madison is believed to be the youngest entrant to one of the country’s most well-known academic competitions. She earned the national spot by beating out elementary and middle school peers in Prince William late last week, InsideNova.com first reported.
Her winning word was “vaquero,” and she may be among the few around Washington that can spell a word that is a synonym for cowboy, common mostly to parts of Texas.
The spelling bee’s archives are spotty through many early 20th Century decades, but Madison is believed to be the youngest to gain entry to the competition, said Paige Kimble, the director of the Bee and its 1981 champion. Since 1993, there have been four 8-year-olds to compete and the youngest winner is believed to be 11.
Kimble said that the big stage likely won’t phase Madison. “The only thing that fazes them …is what that pronouncer is going to ask them to spell,” she said.
Participants cannot be older than eighth grade or 15 years old.
Her mother, Sorina Vlaicu, politely declined an interview saying that after the crush of media attention in the last few days, Lori Anne “needs to go back to being a 6-year old and playing with her friends, which we’ll do plenty [Wednesday] since the weather is supposed to be perfect.”
The competition will be held at the Gaylord National Hotel at National Harbor, on May 30 and 31.