Here are the co-winners of last night’s Scripps Spelling Bee, the one on the left is in Fifth Grade and is ELEVEN years old. This was his first foray into the Bee, and is the youngest winner for a long time. Wow, just wow.
I watched until the bitter end, glued to seeing these two kids spell words I’d never heard of, let alone try and spell. The final round words were Feldenkrais and Gesellschaft.
Believe it or not, I KNEW the word Gesellschraft from a million years ago, 1963 to be exact, as my family traveled through Europe. I leaned what GmbH stood for Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung. I haven’t forgotten it since. Could I have spelled it before the cameras last night? Hell no, but at least I had heard the word and knew the root.
Nihar, on the left, must have a photographic memory, as words thrown at him one after another he knew, he recognized. Asked how he knew so much at such a young age, he responded, My Mother, It’s All my Mother.
Of the ten finalists, only one white girl and one white boy, both eliminated at some point but both amazingly good. We’ve talked about this before here, the culture behind Indian and Pakistani parents to raise such intellectually curious children – what drives them to succeed? Is it really just the parents? I don’t think so. The children have to have the innate ability to learn and memorize and think about roots and language of origin. It takes a logical mind to think out all those steps.
I predict every last one of the ten finalists will end up at MIT or Harvard or CalTech and each will make some major discovery or contribution to the world.
All I was concerned about at age eleven was riding my bike to Johnson’s Pharmacy to buy either a lime or root beer Popsicle. Oh well.