Meghan Wins Spelling Bee With “Humility”

alphabet blocksA Spelling Bee is a traditional academic contest. To win, you have to know how to correctly spell more words than the rest of the participants are able to. A nine-year-old named Meghan McCarty just won a Spelling Bee. She has autism and cerebral palsy and is part of a mainstream classroom of students.

How well do you spell? Is your writing mostly typo-free, or do you heavily rely on the spellchecker? Read the comment section under any article on a major newspaper of your choice, and it is abundantly clear that plenty of people do not feel that being able to spell words correctly is important. The same can be seen in some posts on various forms of social media. Let’s not even get started on the odd abbreviations people use in text messages!

The Spelling Bee is a contest that existed long before text messaging, email, and Facebook. The purpose was to identify which student knew how to correctly spell the most words. Once a winner was determined, people would applaud. There may or may not be a prize involved. Overall, a Spelling Bee gives positive reinforcement for knowing how to spell correctly.

There was a Spelling Bee held in Virginia. Students from Dogwood Elementary School participated. The winner was nine-year-old Meghan McCarty. She won after correctly spelling the word “humility”. As expected, people applauded. By winning this Spelling Bee, she has earned a spot in the Southern Appalachia Regional Spelling Bee, (which will take place in March of this year).

Meghan has autism and cerebral palsy. She is part of a mainstream classroom. She receives resource help and speech, physical, and occupational therapy both at school and outside of it. She has decorated her leg braces with purple butterflies (something that would appeal to many nine-year-olds). Meghan is given appropriate accommodations in order for her to complete school work. Writing by hand is difficult for her, so she uses an iPad for to complete written assignments.

Tiffiany McCarty is Meghan’s mother. She describes her daughter as “a miracle”. Meghan was born prematurely because of preeclampsia. She has been diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy and moderate autism.

If you ask Meghan, she will tell you: “I’m not disabled”. When she grows up, she wants to be both a pharmacist and a lawyer whose speciality is exposing drugs that have harmful side effects. She’s already studying for it. Meghan has memorized the specific details of thousands of prescription medications.

Image by MRCPLChildrens on Flickr