Sticky situations lead to Spelling Bee win

Published 5:53 pm Saturday, March 7, 2009

Eighth–grader Lindsey Zimmer of Tallapoosa County discovered Saturday that quagmiry situations can lead you to your ultimate goal.

Zimmer correctly spelled quagmiry in Round 12 of the 2009 Spelling Bee and finally pachinko to win the competition held at Spain Park High School.

“I was very nervous, especially when they sat me down and said I had misspelled my word,” Zimmer said. “I was praying they’d catch the mistake.”

The mistake occurred after Round 10 when judges incorrectly said Zimmer was the only girl of the three left to misspell her word in Round 9. All three girls had in fact missed their words meaning Zimmer could still compete. Two rounds later Zimmer found her victory.

This win sends Zimmer to represent Alabama in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. May 24-27.

“I’m just so excited, so proud of her,” said Zimmer’s mom, Jennifer Walters. “She works so hard at everything she does.”

The confusion and ultimate victory of the Spelling Bee all happened after a hectic day for the 14–year–old.

Zimmer awoke at 3:45 a.m. to meet her Reeltown High School scholar’s bowl team and head to Hoover. She competed with them in the morning, before getting lost in Hoover and finally making it to the Spelling Bee 10 minutes before competition time.

“She really didn’t have the time to get nervous,” Walters said. “But she didn’t really have time to study a lot either. She’s been so busy, but she loves being involved academically.”

In addition to studying for the Spelling Bee and scholar’s bowl, Zimmer plays the flute in the band, plays softball and participates in school plays.

Another highly involved student, Meghan Till of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School in Indian Springs village represented Shelby County. She knocked down two words –– luau and rendezvous –- before losing out on laryngitis in Round 3.

Till said she only had about a week to study between competing with OLV’s Science Olympiad team, which competes for state next week, and trying out for cheerleading.

“I didn’t feel too good about the last word when I got up there. It wasn’t something I had studied well,” Till said.

Till’s mother said her daughter too has been stretched thin with recent competitions.

Other kids from around the state missed words like granolith, thixotropic and amanuensis. Alison Black, a seventh–grader from Dekalb County came in second place, while seventh–grader Kayla Borden of Colbert County placed third. These girls have one more year of eligibility.