How do you spell history?
Over the weekend 5-year-old Edith Fuller from Oklahoma secured a spot to compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, thus becoming its youngest-ever competitor, according to bee officials.
Edith won the Tulsa area spelling bee on Saturday by correctly spelling jnana — pronounced “juh-nah-nuh” — a term for “knowledge” in the Hindu tradition.
She beat out 52 other children — the oldest was 14 — by also correctly spelling Panglossian, Baedeker, pernicious, zephyr and sarsaparilla, according to KJRH in Tulsa.
She won a trophy almost taller than her.
“It’s fun to share her with everyone,” her mother, Annie Fuller, told The Tulsa World. “I knew she’d be a novelty, so I’m proud she held her own.”
As CNN points out, contestants at the national spelling bee get younger every year. Last year’s youngest contestant was 6-year-old Akash Vukoti from San Angelo, Texas, a YouTube star before he even competed at the national bee. Guest spots on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and Steve Harvey’s “Little Big Shots” earned him more fame.
The little first-grader got a standing ovation when he misspelled his second word on stage — bacteriolytic — in the preliminary rounds.
So how did Edith make it to the national stage at such a tender age?
“Mommy asks me a word, and every time I misspell one, I will look at it,” she told KJRH.
Like Akash, Edith is home-schooled.
“We need to know what kinds of textbooks her mother Annie, who home-schools her, has included in the curriculum,” quipped Teen Vogue.
Edith represented the TBC Home Education Fellowship in the regional competition, according to The Tulsa World.
“She is very bright; we were amazed to find that she really has a knack for spelling,” her mom told KJRH. “She can remember words that she has seen and heard very easily.”
Fuller said the family saw Edith’s knack for spelling one night at dinner last summer when she spelled the word “restaurant” without having done it before.
“We knew there was something special there,” Fuller told the Tulsa World.
Saturday’s bee lasted more than four hours, and the fact that her daughter, who “likes to move around,” toughed it out amazed Fuller.
“I’m surprised she sat still for so long,” Fuller told the newspaper.
The national spelling bee is open to contestants who haven’t passed eighth grade, which means Edith probably will compete against kids more than twice her age. There is no minimum age to compete.
Regional bees are still happening across the country, so maybe there’s a 4-year-old out there who can spell momentous?
The national bee begins May 28.