This 14-Year-Old Retired Speller Has Made $17,000 From Spelling

"If I'm doing something I love, why not make a little bit of money off of it?"

How well can you spell? Whatever the answer, we bet it's not much better than Sylvie Lamontagne. The 14-year-old won her first spelling bee at 8 years old and, in the process, realized how much she loved complicated words. In a video for 60 Second Docs, a documentary series that explores people and topics in just one minute, Lamontagne shares what it's like to be someone who's excellent at spelling words correctly. 

"I'm a retired speller and a spelling coach," she said in the video, explaining that she aged out of competing after eighth grade. "For coaching, I charge $25 an hour. If I'm doing something I love, why not make a little bit of money off of it?" 

According to 60 Second Docs, she's made quite a bit of money so far: a whopping $17,000. 


Lamontagne competed in national spelling competitions, including the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2016 where she placed 4th. After her competing days ended, she wanted to find a way to still be involved. 

"So, I started judging," she said. "Being a judge is stressful because you feel bad every time you ding the bell." 

Despite the downside, Lamontagne loves being a part of the competitions and, she gets to help kids improve their spelling as a side gig. 

"If I could talk to myself at a younger age, I would tell myself to not worry about everything," she said. "Just enjoy the words." 

You can watch the 60 Second Doc below.


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