1990: Mary Elizabeth Grahmann
Mary Elizabeth Grahmann, 38
• Current residence: Victoria
• Occupation: National education math consultant; math teacher, Victoria East High School
• Year won: 1990
• School: Sacred Heart School, Hallettsville
• Grade, age: Eighth, 14
• Winning word: Ritziness
• Parents: Marjorie and Marcus Grahmann
Q:How did winning change your life?
A: I don't think it's strictly about spelling; I think you're just exposed to what's possible once you take on a new opportunity. It's just not about studying; it's about being in a new place and being out there. It's not just about winning or losing; it's about meeting different people.
Q:How did winning affect the career you are in? A: I really can't say it; I think it played somewhat of a role of where I decided to go to college. Being from a small town, a lot of people decide to stay. I ended up applying to Notre Dame University, which took me to another level.
Q:What advice would you give to this year's spellers?A: Take risks. Remember it's not always about winning or losing.
Q:Are you still a good speller? A: Yes. When people who don't know me ask me to spell a word and I tell them, they'll ask me, "Are you sure?" I'll say, "Trust me; I know. I went to the national spelling bee."
Q:How far did you advance at the national spelling bee? A: I really don't remember.
Q:What prize did you win?
I don't think they gave anyone prizes there, but I walked away with new friendships, which I was able to maintain for a long time.