Homeschooler wins National Spelling Bee

Was checking out 13-year-old w-i-n-s National Spelling Bee and saw this:

The 13-year-old from Danville, Calif., aced –serrefine” Thursday night to become the last youngster standing at the 80th annual bee.

Because no school was mentioned, I suspected that the winner may not attend government school, but I had to dig through a bunch of news reports before I found this tidbit at the end of Bay Area Boy Crowned Spelling Bee Champ:

Evan is home-schooled by his mother.

I thought I remembered seeing the school last year’s winner attended, so I quick googled ’79th national spelling bee’ and picked the first result that looked like a media story, a story in the USA Today:

New Jersey 13-year-old wins national spelling bee, first girl since 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time in seven years, a girl has the honor of being called America’s best speller.

Katharine Close, a 13-year-old New Jersey girl making her fifth and final appearance at the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, aced “ursprache” to claim the title.

The eighth-grader at the H.W. Mountz School in Spring Lake is the first female winner since 1999. After hearing the familiar word during Thursday’s final on prime-time television, she knew she would win. [emphasis Murdoc’s]

How about the 78th? Also lists school near the top of the story.

Hmmm. The 77th coverage also notes that the winner is a “public school” student near the top.

I wonder why no mention that the winner is a homeschool student in most press coverage this year. Maybe I’m just overly sensitive?

Homeschooling is NOT for everyone, and many of those who would like to cannot due to any number of reasons. Like anything else, there are pros and cons to homeschooling, but, if you’re fit and able, I think it’s an excellent option and worth some serious consideration.


  1. I didn’t even know the word ‘serrefine’ existed, and I’m a purty good speler. Heh, and Firefox thinks I’ve mis-spelled it…

  2. Actually I’d say it’s jargon; it seems to be a medical term. Not too surprising if it’s not in a dictionary aimed at checking the spelling in a web browser. I get the impression that part of the skill of winning a spelling bee is to be good at guessing how a word would be spelled, based on other words, its roots, what kind of language it sounds like it comes from (Latin, Greek, French, German, etc.) and just plain old guesswork. I don’t think anybody can know every English word that exists and it seems they pick them from a pretty large set.