What is it like trying to get attention for academic accomplishments in your neck of the woods?
Did you hear about the 6-year-old who became the youngest kid to ever qualify for the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.? Lori Anne Madison fell out of the competition on the word "ingluvies." But make no mistake, this little girl did not lose at the biggest spelling bee in the country.
She managed to make an entire nation stop and cheer for a 6-year-old who is good at spelling. Spelling! Of all things.
In a nation where I see words like "2morrow" -- or even worse "2moraw" -- in regularity in adults' Facebook statuses, people stopped defending their butchering of the English language with claims that they don't have "time" to actually use spell check (really, it's not. that. hard.). And they are all in agreement. Lori Anne Madison is one cool kid.
If you don't believe it, ask her. The Washington Post did. They asked this spelling bee champ specifically if she was a superstar, and the 6-year-old said "yes."
That's my girl! Nerd pride for the win!
You might say I'm taking this awfully personally for someone who is not Lori Anne's mother. And you're right. I am. Because I'm the mother of another smart 6-year-old, whose tendency to trip over her own two feet leaves me doubtful that she will ever excel at sports. I'm OK with that fact, but I'm not OK with living in a world where athletic feats tend to get kids more accolades than academic ones.
This is not to denigrate athletics. They have an important place in childhood. Heck, they're important in society as a whole. But I remember what it was like being a smart kid in school. The football team got pep rallies. The quiz bowl team existed.
Lori Anne may not have won the scholarship from spelling bee host Scripps Howard this year. But she won the battle to bring attention to an accomplishment that is every bit as worthy as that of a 6-year-old soccer phenom or 10-year-old gridiron guru. And every smart kid in America thanks her for that.
Tell us, what is it like trying to get attention for academic accomplishments in your neck of the woods?