Lifestyle & Belief

Lori Anne Madison, the Scripps National Spelling Bee’s youngest contestant ever, is eliminated


Spellers from Illinois (left to right, Devora Klionsky of Chicago, Christopher S. Rupprecht of Chicago, and Michaela M. Minock of Peotone) wait for their turns during the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition on June 3, 2010.


Alex Wong

The youngest person ever to compete in the preliminary round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee started off strong, but ultimately did not make it to the semi-final round, Reuters reported.

Today was the first day of the 85th National Spelling Bee, with 278 contestants vying for 50 spots in the semi-finals, which take place Thursday, MSNBC reported. The spellers moved on to day 2 based on their scores from a 50-word computer test they took Tuesday plus their ability to spell words on stage for an audience today.

Six-year-old Lori Anne Madison of Woodbridge, Va., had no trouble spelling the first word she was given – “dirigible” – Reuters reported. She did, however, need the microphone to be lowered so she could speak into it. (Students up to age 15 are eligible to compete.)

The home-schooled Lori Ann later misspelled "ingluvies" (a crop of birds) as e-n-g-l-u-v-i-e-s, which led to her elimination, MSNBC reported.

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The 50 contestants who are advancing to the semi-finals include two New York-based finalists from last year’s competition, Reuters reported – Arvind Mahankali, 12, who tied for third place, and Nabeel Rahman, 14, who made it to 10th place. Also competing Thursday is Vanya Shivashankar, 10, who’s the sister of 2009 champion Kavya Shivashankar.

If they survive the semi-finals Thursday morning, they will compete in the televised finals at 8 p.m.

The schedule may be grueling, but big prizes await the spelling bee champion, including $30,000 cash, a $2,500 US savings bond and a $5,000 scholarship, Reuters reported.