Odisha Girl Among 8 Co-Champions Of US National Spelling Bee
Shruthika Padhy, a 13-year-old girl of Indian-origin girl from Odisha, is among the eight co-champions of the US National Spelling Bee.
Though there have been co-champions before, it is the first time in the competition’s 94-year history that eight of the finalists, aged 12 to 14, were declared winners on Thursday night.
It is a matter of pride that six among the winners are Indian-American, making it the 12th year in a row when children of Indian descent have won the competition.
Shruthika, Rishik Gandhasri, Saketh Sundar, Erin Howard, Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao and Rohan Raja took home $50,000 in cash and a trophy each.
The finalists spelled through 20 tough rounds. In the 18th round, Jacques Bailly, the bee’s pronouncer, told the eight: “We’re throwing the dictionary at you, and, so far, you are showing the dictionary who’s boss!”
Shruthika, a resident of Cherry Hill, New Jersey and a student of Rosa International Middle School, was declared winner after spelling the word ‘aiguillette’ correctly.
“I was definitely a little nervous but I tried to stay calm and put on my game face and really give it my all. I’m so incredibly thankful for the support of my community and my school,” CBS3 quoted her saying.
She studied for five hours ever day and 12 hours per day on weekends. That’s the type of commitment it took to win, it further added.
According to reports, this was her fourth attempt at this high-pressure contest. She had secured 22nd position in her first try in 2016. She improved her score in 2017 and secured the 17th position. Last year, she made it to the 10th place.
A total of 562 super-spellers from across the US, its territories and six other countries had participated. The three-day contest was held at Oxon Hill in Maryland.