7-year-old is youngest competitor in Scripps National Spelling Bee


by Melissa Swan


Posted on March 27, 2013 at 8:42 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- They amaze us every year: Young boys and girls spelling words many of us have never even heard of.

In 2013, the youngest speller competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee is from Louisville and she is a 7-year-old. Almost all of the qualifiers have been named and Tara Singh from Louisville is the youngest by far.

Tara is a 7-year-old with a great laugh and loves Disney; especially the princesses. She and her dad love rooting for the New Orleans Saints.

She's a lot like many 7-year-olds but she just happens to be a super speller.

“I like the words baccalaureate and the word weissnichtwo,” Tara said. 

Earlier in March, tiny Tara managed to beat the older competition at the regional spelling bee and is now headed to Washington D.C. for the national competition. She admits she was nervous.

“Because I was younger than any other kid there,” Tara said.

In the audience was her mom and dad who admit being surprised by the words Tara was spelling.

Tara survived 30 rounds of spelling words, but finally Tara won with "deglaciation."

Tara says it means when a glacier is melting.

Tara's parents agree she's a very bright girl, but they believe her astonishing spelling ability comes from hard work.

Studying Greek and Latin is part of that hard work. Tara is a 3rd grader at Louisville Classical Academy. It's a small school in eastern Jefferson County. It's where Greek and Latin are part of the core curriculum and they form the foundation of all learning.

Marcy Cassady founded Louisville Classical Academy six years ago and while she may be surprised that such a young student is so good at spelling, she's confident the Greek and Latin foundation enhanced her ability.

“She looks at the eight syllable words and she sees the component parts and she sees the roots. They've got the tools to go to an extraordinarily high level,” Cassady said.

How high in the bee might Tara go? Who knows, and this family say that’s not what's important.

"We ask her all the time 'Are you enjoying this?' because if you're not, it's not worth it," said Tara's mother.

So far Tara’s still enjoying it and even though she will be eight next month, she'll still be one of the youngest in the competition.

“It’s a very good opportunity," Tara said. "Exciting and kind of nerve racking."