Alice is out

Alice Liu, speller 191, is the youngest speller in the Bee.

“It made me more nervous, but also more excited,” she said. “I’m representing my region, but I also feel I’m representing the field of people who are younger, too.”

The Missouri fifth grader said she got nervous whenever she approached the mic.

“I felt my heart beating in my chest,” she said.

Then, once she spelled the words correctly?


“I felt super happy.”

Alice said she’d tell other spellers that they should persevere when they think they’re good at something. She learned she was good at spelling when her teacher told her parents – who then told her.

She participated last year in her school bee, but didn’t win. This year, she wanted to get redemption.

Her least favorite words, she said, are those from trademarks and proper names. They don’t follow any rules, she said.

“Sometimes, I’m really mad at the dictionary,” she said. “They shouldn’t be in here.”

Alice likes to swim and jump waves, and reads fantasy novels.

“You can go somewhere without actually going somewhere,” she said. “Now, I’m going through an adventure in a different way.”

She misspelled galanas, a fine for murder in early Welsh law assessed upon the killer and his kinsfolk and measured in cattle or money.