May 28, 2012
At 6 years old, Lori Anne Madison is the youngest person ever to qualify for the National Spelling Bee.
At a glance, she seems like a child that age: She talks at 100 mph and wears a T-shirt that says "Little Miss Sunshine" on it. But she can spell with the best of them, in this case kids twice her age already considered prodigies.
The bee doesn't have a lower age limit, but no one younger than 8 had ever qualified for the nationals. Spellers can compete until they're 15, or until they've completed eighth grade.
No one is expecting Lori Anne to win. But just being there is a unique accomplishment, and making it beyond the preliminaries on Tuesday and Wednesday would be another stunning development.