A slight smile came across Edith Fuller’s lips as she asked the pronouncer for the origin and then a definition.

Then the 5-year-old was ready.

“J-N-A-N-A. Jnana,” Edith said.

And with that she became the youngest person to win the 2017 Scripps Green Country Regional Spelling Bee.

Edith beat out more than 50 other students at the Oral Roberts Global Learning Center on Saturday to earn a trip to Washington, D.C., and a spot in the national spelling bee.

“I feel thankful,” said Edith, who represented the TBC Home Education Fellowship in the competition.

The spelling bee featured competitors from elementary and middle schools throughout northeast Oklahoma.

Edith was an early crowd favorite because of her age. But as she began correctly spelling words like odori, colloquial and sevruga, it became clear she was a true contender.

“It’s fun to share her with everyone,” said her mother, Annie Fuller. “I knew she’d be a novelty, so I’m proud she held her own.”

Fuller said the family learned of her daughter’s knack for spelling last summer while they were having dinner together.

The parents were quizzing the kids on spelling, and when Edith spelled “restaurant” without having been taught the word they were impressed.

“We knew there was something special there,” Fuller said.

Edith spent the time leading up to the competition studying words with her mom. Anytime she misspelled a word she would look it up and learn about the word and its spelling.

“Learning the words was so educational. She was able to learn about different countries and cultures and different kinds of food,” Fuller said.

Saturday’s competition lasted more than four hours.

The field of 53 narrowed to three competitors after 18 rounds. At that point, Fuller wandered briefly into the crowd to take a family member a bottle of water.

“She likes to move around,” Fuller said. “I’m surprised she sat still for so long.”

The final three included Fuller, Salma Waheed from Jenks Middle School, and Saisurya Lakkimsetti from Jenks Southeast Elementary School.

Salma finished in third place after stumbling on the word ejoneador.

Saisurya fell two rounds later after he added the letter “e” to the end of the word mandir.

“He worked so hard for this and he loves doing it,” said his mother, Chandana Lakkimsetti. “We’re very proud of his accomplishment.”

Mike Averill

918-581-8489

mike.averill@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @Mike_Averill