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This 6-year-old is smart: S-M-A-R-T!

  • Lori Anne Madison is the youngest ever to compete in the National Spelling Bee
  • She beat 21 other participants in her county's competition
  • The 6-year-old homeschooler won with the word 'vaquero'
This 6-year-old is smart: S-M-A-R-T!

She’s a lean, mean, spelling machine and she’s about to become the youngest person ever to compete in the National Spelling Bee! Lori Anne Madison is just six years old and is a homeschooler in Virginia.

Two hours and 200 words into the Prince William County Spelling Bee, Lori Anne beat out 21 other participants, according to InsideNova.

The winning word? “Vaquero,” the Spanish translation of “cowboy,” used mostly in Texas. Can you use that in a sentence, please? Sure: “The vaquero wandered down yonder to the watering hole to lasso some cows!”

Stretching up on the tips of her toes and speaking into a microphone taller than her, Lori Anne clenched the win: “Vaquero. V-A-Q-U-E-R-O. Vaquero.”

And who knew the final word would end up having some special meaning for her, too?!

“We practiced that word several times because she kept getting it wrong,” her mother, Sorina Vlaicu Madison, told InsideNova. “We really insisted on that word so I knew for sure she would nail it.”

This wasn’t Lori Anne’s first time on the spelling stage, either. She also competed last year and placed in the top five. Pretty impressive, but she was determined to do better this time around.

Lori Anne will head to Washington, D.C., for the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee  May 29 to June 1.

Pennsylvania 14-year-old Sukanya Roy took home the winning title last year with the word “cymotrichous” (that means having waving hair, in case you didn’t know).

Does Lori Anne have a shot at the national title? We sure hope so -- and we’ll definitely be watching!

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