Sometimes kids do something so impressive and unbelievably smart that it makes you wonder what the heck you are doing wrong with your own life.
For instance, it took all my mental energy this morning to keep from persistently putting milk in the cereal cupboard. Meanwhile, a group of schoolkids from America have just demonstrated they are literally too clever for words.
On the evening of May 30, eight young brain boxes made history after they were crowned co-champions at Scripps National Spelling Bee, a prestigious US competition which challenges youngsters with thesaurus-level vocabularies.
Scripps judges are used to seeing some pretty precocious wordsmiths hopping up on the stage. But nothing in the competition’s over 90 year history could have prepared them for this extraordinary tie.
The spelling bee, which took place in a convention center ballroom outside Washington, finished up after 20 rounds, which included an incredible run of 47 correct words.
Judges decided to call it a draw after round 17. This was because – although there were still plenty of words left in the dictionary – there were just enough challenging words for a final three rounds.
As reported by Huffington Post, longtime pronouncer Jacques Bailly was the one to break the unbelievable news:
Champion spellers, we are now in uncharted territory.
We do have plenty of words remaining on our list. But we will soon run out of words that will possibly challenge you, the most phenomenal collection of super spellers in the history of this competition.
As the stunned audience members gave a standing ovation, Bailly continued:
We’re throwing the dictionary at you and so far, you are showing the dictionary who is boss.
These joint winners are as follows: Sohum Sukhatankar, 13, of Dallas, Texas, Abhijay Kodali, 12, of Flower Mound, Texas, Rohan Raja, 13, of Irving, Texas, Saketh Sundar, 13, of Clarksville, Maryland, Christopher Serrao, 13, of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, Rishik Gandhasri, 13, of San Jose, California, Erin Howard, 14, of Huntsville, Alabama, and Shruthika Padhy, 13, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Some of the tricky words which earned spellers this unprecedented draw reportedly included, ‘auslaut’, ‘auftaktigkeit’, ‘omphalopsychite’ and ‘odylic’. I mean, these words would stump most adults. And these are kids who are up on a stage facing fierce competition.
Each of these eight formidable spellers were given the full winner’s freight of $50,000 in cash, as well as a brand new, custom-designed trophy.
A very well done to Sohum, Abhijay, Rohan, Saketh, Christopher, Rishik, Erin and Shruthika!
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.