In what many are calling a new low for the American education system, 14 year-old eighth grader Sarah Tompkins won the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee last night by correctly spelling "LOL" — texting shorthand for "laughing out loud."
Tompkins' winning spelling came after 25 rounds in which spellers were given traditionally difficult Spelling Bee words without success, then easier two-syllable words and, finally, simple, one-syllable words such as "cat," "go" and "me". But America's best and brightest students failed on every attempt.
"I am so embarrassed for our country," said Jacques Bailly, the competition's official word pronouncer. "I wish it wasn't televised and broadcast throughout the world. Now everyone knows how stupid we are."
The competition was almost won in the 23rd Round when the word list was dumbed down to two-syllable words. Mark Peerman of New Jersey was given the word "hater" and spelled it "h-8-r". After huddling for several minutes, judges decided to not give him credit.
"At that point we still had some hope and we didn't want to be reduced to accepting a word with a number in it as the winning attempt," said Bailly. "What really sealed my decision was when we were discussing our ruling and I looked up and the kid was picking his nose and eating his boogers while stupidly giggling to himself."
Following her winning attempt on "LOL", Tompkins celebrated by lighting a fart on fire, but accidentally held the lighter too close to herself and severely burned her butt. Unfortunately, she did not get any medical attention for nearly a half hour because she couldn't think of the word "Owww".
Tompkins' injury was one of many at the 2011 Bee. Many spellers fell and hurt themselves after slipping on other competitors' drool.