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Monday, June 4 12:00 AM ET

Internet Spelling Bee Ends
Without a Winner

By Brian Briggs

Buffalo Grove, IL - The recent Internet spelling bee ended without a winner. The event pits middle school students who are active on Internet message boards and chat rooms in a spelling competition.

Three hundred students entered, but none were able to make it past the first round.

"We started out with our regular list of words, but after about a hundred kids we could see we had to change," said event organizer Tom Spellings. "We then switched to common words like 'laugh' and 'stupid' but the kids still failed. Eventually, we limited ourselves to three-letter words but the kids still couldn't get one right."

The final student, Tyler Frenski, was asked to spell "the", but wrongly spelled it "t-e-h." Judges threw their hands in the air in disgust while a giggling Tyler exchanged high fives with his friends.

The results of the bee confirmed teachers' worst fear that the Internet is hurting children's reading and writing skills. "With all the texting and messaging these kids do, it's no wonder they can't spell," said Mrs. Blackburn a seventh grade English teacher. "Kids twenty years ago could spell complex words without a mistake. Today's youth can't even spell 'you' correctly."

One student, Ryan Wilson said he was going to start an online petition asking for dictionary manufacturers to include "preferred Internet spellings" for some words. "You should be able to spell 'lose' with as many Os and you want," he said.

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Organizers said that next year they will add more students and limit words to one or two letters. "Hopefully, the laws of probability will be on our side and at least one kid will stumble on a proper spelling."

Overhearing the remarks one student said, "I was told there wouldn't be any math."

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