Smarty Pants Prove Brainiacs in Spelling and Philosophy


Great minds think alike — wisdom isn't wasted on the young. This weekend an Oregon man won this year's Great American Think-Off, a national philosophy competition asking ordinary people to debate extraordinary questions. This year's question was, "Does immigration strengthen or threaten the United States?"

Craig Allen, of West Linn, OR, won a gold medal this weekend when a live audience in New York Mills decided he was most convincing when arguing that the system of immigration and immigration policy is broken and that it encourages an influx of illegal immigrants and poses a threat to the country.

During the debate, the four finalists touched on what it means to be an American and stressed that American identity is evolving. He wasn't the only adult winning laurels for being a smarty pants this weekend.

Larry Grossman won this year’s senior national spelling bee correctly spelling the word “debouch” and snatching victory. Grossman, a Northwood, ND resident is a teacher and has won the North Dakota state spelling bee six times already. “This is a great feeling. ‘Great’ doesn’t seem like a very adequate word but that’s all I can think of on short notice.”

The event, hosted by AARP, had about forty-seven competitors from twenty-four states in this year’s senior bee. Those competing were invited following wins in recent regional bees and were required to be fifty years of age or older. The winner received $500 and some big ol' bragging rites. Rights. Writes. Aw, ask Larry.

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