I’d like to offer up my heartiest, harpiest high-five to Kavya Shivashankar, who yesterday won the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
I have always loved words and spelling (my typos on here rankle me terribly), and I competed in bees every year through grade school. I made it to the state level in both 7th and 8th grade, but never progressed to Nationals, despite months of daily study. (Sadface. You never forget the words you go out on.) But I look forward to the broadcasts of final rounds of the bee each year, and I delight in their struggles and successes, as well as their various quirks and weirdnesses, which strike awfully close to this Dork’s heart.
Shivashankar, 13, was one of 293 spellers, and made it through 16 rounds before she clinched the honors with “Laodicean.” This was her fourth year making it to Nationals. She has won more than $40,000 in scholarship money which she can apply to the college of her choice–but no George Plimpton Hot Plate. You can see all of her words here, or read bio info on her and her fellow finalists (7 of the 11 are girls!) here.
P.S. If you haven’t seen the documentary Spellbound, get thee to a Netflix queue!