What were you doing when you were six? Learning to spell words like "train" and "family"? Well, can you spell "underachiever"? You can if you're Lori Anne Madison, a six-year-old from Woodbridge, Virginia who is on her way to the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee. Madison, who is believed to be the youngest contestant ever to compete at the National Spelling Bee, beat 21 other spellers in Prince William County to gain entrance to the big show. The charmingly serious girl is excited about it, though she can't spell out exactly why: "It's hard to put into words really . . . but at the least I felt great."
Lori Anne also says she's not scared to compete against older kids: "It didn't make me nervous because ... I am accepted by any group. I have older and younger friends. My youngest friend is Reese; he's three years old. My oldest ones are Shelby and Walker, and they're eight." That's impressive, but not as impressive as the fact that she's been competing in spelling bees since she was three and a half.
As for how she got so good, Madison, who is home-schooled, says she has a good memory and her parents help her by quizzing her. Oh, and for the record, Madison says she wants to grow up to study astrobiology. These must be the kinds of things you can accomplish when you're not spending first grade trying to figure out how to poke your classmate with your pencil without getting caught or smelling your Mr. Sketch scented markers repeatedly while your teacher attempts to teach you basic math.