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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Wilson’s spelling champ gets head start on lifetime of learning

Posted on June 11, 2022

OpinionLetters
The Wilson Times welcomes letters to the editor of 350 words or fewer. Letters should be signed with the writer's name and hometown. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Phone numbers are not published. Email your letter to the editor to letters@wilsontimes.com.

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The Wilson Times welcomes letters to the editor of 350 words or fewer. Letters should be signed with the writer's name and hometown. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Phone numbers are not published. Email your letter to the editor to letters@wilsontimes.com.

Congratulations to Wilson’s own Ka’Mauri Best, his parents, the other Scripps National Spelling Bee contestants, the program’s sponsors and everybody else interested in the “spell it right, please” world (“Wilson speller competes in National Spelling Bee,” June 3, page 6A).

Treating an English word right is not something to be sniffed at. Just consider how lengthy, Latin-derived medical terms confused by misspellings might cause urgent, dreadful and unintended consequences, not to mention severe pain regarding our legal lives!

Once upon a time, I actually had to require a major law firm in a large North Carolina city to redo a needed legal document because of misspellings throughout its pages. The name of the legal party involved, my great-aunt, was “Herring.” But throughout that supposed-to-be-legal initial issue, someone had caused the name of the estate involved to become “Harring” instead.

Was it the lawyer who drafted said document, or could it have been a typist? Who knows? Someone’s misspelling “Herring” as “Harring,” though, could have caused her to cease existing in who knows which about-to-become-official court records, as well as in numerous later files, possibly for centuries to come.

Now, Ka’Mauri and others with that admirable and mature interest in the spelling arena, here’s a $50,000 word you’ll find of interest if you haven’t been introduced to it already: antidisestablishmentarianism.

Spelled by an 8-year-old girl on a national television program back in the 1950s, that word — all 11 syllables and all 28 letters of it — won her the $50,000 prize! It also went on to become the stuff of stand-up comedians who profited from its tremendous fame.

“Straight-up phonics! That’s all it is,” proclaimed Wilson’s own Dr. Lawrence Krabill a few years ago as he recalled that same television program he’d watched as a youth.

“Exactly,” I replied. All 11 syllables and all 28 letters.

Finally, though, over these several decades, I have learned that contestants on at least some of these high-class contests are given study words before the need to spell them arrives, something Ka’Mauri Best casually acknowledged.

Best regards to him in his future at the Sallie B. Howard School of Arts & Science and beyond. All of us must be lifelong learners these days. And thanks to The Wilson Times as well for its coverage and sponsorship of the Wilson County Spelling Bee.

Janice Lamm

Wilson

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