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Indiana boy wins "Scripps" National Spelling Bee

Winning word: "autochthonous" meaning "indigenous or native"
The Winner
The Winner
Indiana boy wins National Spelling Bee

Fri Jun 4, 6:11 AM ET Add Top Stories - USATODAY.com to My Yahoo!

By Rebecca F. Johnson, USA TODAY

With an audible breath after every letter and tears welling up in his eyes, David Scott Tidmarsh spelled "autochthonous" Thursday to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Tidmarsh, 14, of South Bend, Ind., tied for 16th in the 2003 competition. This year, he beat out 264 other spellers - including one who fainted - to clinch the title in the 15th round. He said he felt relieved but a little sad. "I won't be able to be in any more spelling bees," said Tidmarsh, who as an eighth-grader is not eligible for next year's competition. "But it's great I ended this on a high note."

Tidmarsh started competing in bees in the third grade. He will receive $17,000 and other prizes as the winner of the 77th annual event.

Children ages 9-15 advanced from regional bees to the national competition. There, they showcased the months they spent scouring study guides and dictionaries to memorize words such as "scaphocephaly" (a condition in which the head is disproportionately long and narrow) and "pilosebaceous" (relating to a hair follicle and its sebaceous gland).

For the first time, the bee had a time limit on each word. Spellers received a warning at two minutes notifying them that they had 30 seconds to finish. Also for the first time, a 25-word written test was given in the first round. Previously, the first round was oral competition, and the written test came in round two.

Throughout the competition, the spellers sat on stage in matching shirts, deep in concentration. But their jitters were apparent.

Second-place speller Akshay Buddiga, 13, of Colorado Springs passed out in the sixth round, only to stand and successfully spell "alopecoid," meaning foxlike. The eighth-grader received a standing ovation - and a medical checkup - and sat in a chair for the remainder of the competition.

"I've been coming to this competition since 1980, and I've never seen anything like it," said Paige Kimble, bee director and the 1981 champion.

Akshay, whose brother Pratyush won the 2002 competition, missed on "schwarmerei," meaning excessive, unbridled enthusiasm.

For some, such as eighth-grader Holly Duitsman, 13, of Barstow, Calif., the bell that announced that they had misspelled a word also signaled the end of their bee careers.

For others, such as Claire Nieman, 12, a home-schooled sixth-grader from Seattle, it was a sign to study up for next year.

"We'll be sitting here next year," joked Bill Nieman, her father. Claire missed "filiopietistic" (having great reverence for ancestors) in the fifth round.

homepage: homepage: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=676&e=3&u=/usatoday/20040604/ts_usatoday/indianaboywinsnationalspellingbee

Who cares? 04.Jun.2004 21:17

this is corporate bullshit

Even though it was pretty funny when the boy passed out, then got up and spelled the word correctly. I think we should have a national IQ-off.

IndyMedia needs a little "human interest story" 04.Jun.2004 21:33


now and then

Actually 04.Jun.2004 21:34

King James

English is the only language that has (or requires) spelling bees

Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell 04.Jun.2004 21:45

Tom Lehrer

I agree with who cares. I really don't care much about spelling or even mis-spelling for that matter. Except that you know, I used to. Somewhere along the way I learned that spelling skills, like being pretty or having extraordinary biceps or being white, is just one of those things that we all long for. Just one of those things that gives us license to rise up, stand tall and look down on our brothers and sisters who might not have those particular traits.

And yeah, agreed. It's corporate BS. But I thank the original poster for bringing it to our attention. It is clear example of a kind of "ism", one that has no name (that I know).

Who the hell cares?

Awww.. they're so cute! 04.Jun.2004 21:50


And so dedicated!
Too bad corporate America outsources spelling to India.
We need to reserve future space for these kids on the streets.

IQ - off ? 04.Jun.2004 22:00

ha ha

It's one thing to bathe in your own brilliance, but many very intellegent people think because they're really smart, that they arn't really stupid either. The two a bit separate. I once worked in a mental institution with many severely retarded people who crapped their pants, couldn't feed themselves or hardly speak a word. One of the people I worked with could give you the answer to any 2, 3 digit numbers multiplied. Not 3 numbers, not 2 digits, not 1 digits, not any other word. This person regularly shit their pants and couldn't feed themself.

As for another example, look at good ol' Stephen Hawking. It's widely accepted that he's a genius, yet he stunned the world when he suggested that humans must quickly alter their DNA or face extinction by robots.

Look at other scientists who develop nuclear weapons and other clever to destroy the planet. I know plenty of really smart people and often, it seems that the smarter you are, the more retarded you are.

I've had my own IQ tested at 135 and I've been unemployed half my working life and I waste my time doing stupid crap like typing this message. I find simple addition and subtraction more difficult than some higher math and I'm a bad speller. I have a friend who dissappointed himself by testing his IQ at 89 and he's a highly succesfull jerk in everything he does.

Think about all the really smart nerds in your life, in some ways they're all kind of stupid retards.

"IQ- off" 04.Jun.2004 22:37

so what's your point

Are you saying that there is different levels of intelligence, and the person that craps their pant may be better at math than you, or me (savant). What about the unkown political scientist that knows about all the injustices occuring throughout the world. Hear it from the horses mouth, because corporate media won't tell you. And I won't bitch a writting this comment.


Nice change of pace 04.Jun.2004 22:41


I think Akshay passed out because he was under too much pressure (what with his older brother winning the competition in 2002). Anyway, it's nice to see a "change of pace" posting to lighten things up. Thank you for that. For some of you out there, let's try not to make everything a target of venom, OK.
Moving on...

My point 04.Jun.2004 23:04

ha ha

Uh no reason to get hostile there, peace bud. ha ha

Well I though I made my point, but I guess what I was trying to say was that as well as possessing different levels of intellegence, we all possess varying levels of stupidity.

Supposedly, we can measure intellegence. How can we measure stupidity?

"Hear it from the horses mouth, because corporate media won't tell you. And I won't bitch a writting this comment."


Spelling matters 04.Jun.2004 23:56

George Bender

Especially in political writing, which is what most of us are doing here. Bad spelling, typos and not using the shift key (what's up with that?) give readers the impression that you're stupid and they don't need to take you seriously. And it's an epidemic. I find typos now in books and newspapers. Not too long ago that would not have been allowed. Where have all the proofreaders gone?

I was a poor speller until I became a secretary at age 42 and had to learn. I got a spelling dictionary and used it, learning how to spell. Also using MS Word, with its constant spell checking, has helped a lot. When I'm writing something like this online, if I'm not sure of the spelling or meaning of a word, I open up another browser window and check an online dictionary. Also I go back and read what I've written before I send it, and often find typos to fix.

There are different kinds of intelligence. I'm good with words and ideas, but was terrible at making a living. Our U.S. culture is very narrow in terms of what kinds of intelligence it rewards. We should be able to find an economic place for everyone, but we don't approach it from that angle -- how can we use this person's abilities? -- but from the consumer angle -- do I want what this person has to sell? We think as consumers, not as producers. Our loss.

Congratchoolayshuns 04.Jun.2004 23:57


Speleen reel gud is vurree importint. gud job, kidd!

The winning word 05.Jun.2004 00:21

Give that kid a cigar!

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]

Autochthonal \Au*toch"tho*nal\, Authochthonic
\Au`thoch*thon"ic\, Autochthonous \Au*toch"tho*nous\, a.
Aboriginal; indigenous; native.

WordNet (r) 2.0 [wn]

adj 1: of rocks, deposits, etc.; found where they and their
constituents were formed [ant: allochthonous]
2: originating where it is found; "the autochthonal fauna of
Australia includes the kangaroo"; "autochthonous rocks and
people and folktales"; "endemic folkways"; "the Ainu are
indigenous to the northernmost islands of Japan" [syn: autochthonal,
autochthonic, endemic, indigenous]

How dare you ha ha 05.Jun.2004 00:49

you peace of shite

You don't belong here - i spel an sintax things rong. Will you recirocate?

u r a trol poop hed

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statemen, philosohers and divines." Ralph Waldo Emmerson

"Under a government which imprisons any man unjustly, the true place for the just man is also a prison." Henry David Thoreau

"Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience..." John Locke

Take your thick head and stick it up your ass (if it fits, and if it doesn't, shove it). That would serve you better instead of slandering my friends on Portland Indymedia. Maybe you should go back to school, you might learn something.

Please or is that Plese? 05.Jun.2004 01:28


"For some of you out there, let's try not to make everything a target of venom, OK."
It's common knowledge that postings are subject to spelling errors. No need to feel defensive. This was still a nice change of pace post. No one who knows anything judges by spelling. Hey, I'm 47 and I forget how to spell stuff I knew in grade school, sometimes. By the way, it's kids like these that we need to ENCOURAGE (sp?) in order to win the ultimate fight. Let's not push them away . OK?

Perhaps we should send these comments to the winner 05.Jun.2004 02:33

ha ha

If we're anything to judge grown-ups by, he should know that this point in is life is as good as it gets.

I probably should go back to school too, I can't remember how to write in cursive, except when signing my autograph.

Hey ha ha, here's some spelling errors, as I know there are some 05.Jun.2004 03:57

CRC 2003-X-2003

Will you hold that agiast me?

This is in response to the IPR's policy review of the Hooper sobering program. The PPB use Hooper detox as a tool in more ways than one. Yes, non-intoxicated people have been taken there in retaliation, for whatever reason. Most likely reasons that vary. But what about police officers that use the detox center as a tool in their police report for a false arrest? Anybody leaving a concert at the Crystal Ballroom is most like going to have been drinking, and yes, going to be legally intoxicated. The PPB can just circle bars waiting to abduct an unsuspecting victim walking down the street. Why? Because the current policy says they can. I wasn't even taken to detox, but somehow I was grouped into victims that were seen but not admitted. The officer told me that Old Town Prescient was detox and that it was full. He wrote me a ticket for resisting arrest and drove me over the Ross Island bridge. I asked the officer where he was taking me, and he said, "I'm gonna dive you out and beat the shit out of you." We got into an industrial district and the officer floored it; driving 80-100 mph at least. Taking 90 deg. turns and slamming on brakes. I wasn't seat belted, so I was all over the back seat. I was in the officer's custody for almost 1 hour. His partner wasn't even a police officer, he was a cadet. He never did or said anything, except for lying to the IAD during the investigation. I was eventually booked for resisting arrest. But somehow everybody claimed that I actually was taken to detox. If the officer would have just actually taken me to detox without; beating me, threatening me with profanity, stealing my credit card and committing credit fraud, stealing my money, giving me nerve damage in my hand that lasted for 4 months, I wouldn't have filed a complaint. I was intoxicated, even though there was no cause for stopping me. He wouldn't have stopped me if I had a witness. No charges were filed in court for the resisting arrest, so my only choice was to file a complaint. And every has found out that the IPR complaint process is a sham. I even told the officer I was going to turn him in. His response was, "Get my badge number, I don't care." The officer's name is Joe Luiz, and his cadet partner's name is Rachet.

Spellbound 05.Jun.2004 09:21


Spellbound is a fascinating documentary about the national spelling bee. It shows the obsession the parents of these kids have to have their child win, it's the exact behavior exhibited by parents of children's beauty pageant contestants. Talk about vicarious living!

I also recall that many of the winners or runners up have been homeschooled.

Ultimately, proficiency in spelling indicates an ability to memorize large amounts of information and to understand how various languages are constructed (since different languages may spell similar sounds differently). These are not bad skills to have but the damage done by the overzealous parents far outweigh the skills acquired.

people like to do challenging things 05.Jun.2004 13:38


I think the spelling bee post was no more or less interesting than the posts about zoo bombing. People, especially young people like to do challenging things. One of my kids liked to spell and did well in spelling bees. Didn't tell her she had to, she liked doing it and I was always amazed she could do so well. Spelling was never my thing. I like spell check.
Wouldn't it be nice if spelling bees were as encouraged as sports? Spelling don't hurt anyone as far as I can tell.

I appreciate whoever posted this 06.Jun.2004 16:21

A Nonny Mouse

Not for the story but for the discussion.

Back in the day, I won class spelling bee contests every year. But I was a shy kid and would always sabotage myself by deliberately spelling easy words wrong when the competition went further than my school.

I probably could have ended up like the kid in that article but I'm so glad I didn't. It's a sad thing to have to spend your adulthood working in a shitty, dead-end job taking all kinds of abuse from your boss day in and day out, but it would have been even sadder had I won a statewide or national spelling bee contest and ended up in the same crappy dead-end job taking the same shit from my bosses. I must have been wise beyond my years back then and didn't realize it.

The corporate media makes such a big deal about winning this stupid competition when we all know that spelling bee competitions, or anything else you've done prior to high school for that matter, don't count for shit in the real world after you've reach adulthood. The most this kid could possibly get from that kind of competition is probably some partial scholarship for college and maybe a leg up in the admissions process of some college. If this kid ever put his spelling bee on his resume or a job application, he'd be laughed out the door by prospective employers.

Our system is rigged to favor rich kids, so it doesn't matter how many of these insignificant competitions kids win. A "D" average, underachieving heir will always achieve far greater financial success in adulthood than a "B" average poor kid who can spell every word in the dictionary correctly. If spelling skills were really as significant as the media makes it out to be, then almost every parent in America would make their kids sit down and memorize a dictionary.

But we all know that ain't so.

that is cool. 28.Apr.2006 20:45

that was a good article.

Your lucky if you even get to the reginols.