“The Spell-off,” Friend, Dec. 2003, 26
While in fourth grade, my son, Taylor, was one of 12 semifinalists in a spelling bee. In the semifinals, Taylor tied with another boy for a spot in the finals. The tiebreaker was a “spell-off” in which each student wrote a series of words, which was then checked by a judge. On the last word of the series, the judge ruled that the other boy had spelled the word incorrectly. Taylor was declared the winner and awarded the final spot in the evening competition.
The judges congratulated the winners and were handing out certificates when I saw Taylor’s hand go up. He informed a judge that he, too, had misspelled the last word. The judge had misread his handwriting.
The judges met and announced another spell-off. Taylor didn’t win this time. The principal and Taylor’s teacher saw me crying and thought it was because Taylor had lost. I quickly explained that I could not be more pleased with my son. He had chosen to be honest regardless of the cost. I am grateful that Taylor had the courage to be like Jesus Christ and choose the right.