Spelling bee relents, Missouri girl will compete

Morgan Brown is back in the Scripps National Spelling Bee a few tense days after the powers behind the contest yanked her eligibility over a paperwork blunder. Morgan learned the news as her mother arrived home Tuesday. “I never gave up,” Morgan said, “but I thought the chances were slim.”

Turnabout for the 12-year-old came in a short three-sentence statement from bee director Paige Kimble. “After further consideration we have determined that Morgan Brown is eligible to compete in the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.,” Kimble said. “The bee has a reputation for fairness and inclusiveness that rests squarely on the integrity of the rules that govern the competition. However, we believe after a thorough review that there is sufficient ambiguity in the North Platte enrollment to justify accepting Morgan’s certification as the champion of the St. Joseph News Press Qualifying Regional Spelling Bee.”

Kimble did not elaborate on the decision. Despite an outpouring of support for Morgan, the bee had held firm since last week that the decision to exclude the girl was final.

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