FAIRHOPE — When Taylor Scott won the Baldwin County spelling bee, it was w-e-i-r-d.The bee was held virtually last month as one of the last holdovers of the school district's COVID-19 …
FAIRHOPE — When Taylor Scott won the Baldwin County spelling bee, it was w-e-i-r-d.
The bee was held virtually last month as one of the last holdovers of the school district's COVID-19 precautions.
For Scott, there was no panel of judges. No hushed room of onlookers. No battling for the final spot as student after student retreated upon misplacing a vowel or dropping a silent letter.
Instead, Scott took a 40-minute assessment in her English teacher's room. And waited. And waited. And, oh my gosh, she said, w-a-i-t-e-d.
Nearly a week later she was pulled from her science class, and in an empty hallway at Fairhope Middle School she was pronounced winner of the Baldwin County Spelling Bee.
No applause. No trophy even. But certainly, all the glory.
Scott had been chasing the top spelling spot in the county since third grade when she placed second in her elementary school bee. She won the school bee in fourth grade, dropped to fifth in fifth grade and climbed back up to second place in sixth grade. The seventh-grader won Fairhope Middle's bee earlier this year, pushing her to the county event.
Not that it was easy after five years of spelling bee studying. Scott said not a single word from her study list was asked during the county assessment.
"I started panicking," she said. "I had never heard of any of these words."
She fell back on her knowledge of Greek and Latin roots to pull through, a study habit she is using now to prep for the state round and help her memorize the 25-page, double-sided list she was given for that event.
To prepare, Scott divides that monster undertaking into two lists. The first is words she knows. The second is the ones she does not. She writes those three times in a row to help them "stick in her brain," she said.
The new, gargantuan list, however, is scary she said. Nearly 5,000 words. Some words, she said with a laugh, feel like they are from a completely different language.
On Saturday, she will step onto a Birmingham stage with the best spellers from Alabama. As she prepares, she said she is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g - nervous, excited, scared, ready.
The state bee is a steppingstone to her ultimate goal, winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. this summer.
The academically driven teen said she knows capturing the crown in that event will help open doors to attending an ivy league school, her ultimate dream.
And while spelling comes easily, she is quick to answer if it is her favorite subject.
That would be science.
"It really gives us a new perspective of the world around us," she said. "My career goal right now is pretty broad, but I definitely want to do something in science."