On June 3, 1999, in Washington D.C., Napur Lala, 14, of Tampa, Florida, with a big confident smile, correctly spelled the word logorrhea (incoherent talkativeness) to win the 72nd annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.
But there is more to this victory than meets the eye.
Last year Napur made it to the finals, but was eliminated in an early round and cried for three hours. This year she was determined to succeed. Working two hours a day with her parents to prepare, Napur kept re-quizzing until the words were drummed into her head.
"I would read different books and whenever I found a word I didn't know, I would write it down and look it up later."
Her language arts teacher said, "winning the national spelling bee was certainly where she put her heart... with a single focus." Another teacher described Napur's story as "the most memorable experience in 26 years of teaching."
The $10,000 grand prize comes after rigorous classroom rounds and state finals with 249 competitors. The first Bee was held in 1925 and Websters Third New International Dictionary is the official contest dictionary.
Success is born from failure.