'G-U-E-T-A-P-E-N-S', which means ambush or trap is not something most people use in their everyday lives, but San Diego teen Snigdha Nandipati seemed to have no issues spelling it with ease - A feat that helped her win the prestigious title of 2012 National Spelling Bee along with a trophy and $40,000 USD in cash and prizes.
The 14-year-old's path to the Spelling Bee began when she was just a kindergartner. On the way to school her dad would read words from billboards and challenge the little girl to spell them. Snigdha seemed to have a natural knack for spelling and the duo continued to play the game with increasingly harder vocabulary. By third grade, the San Diego resident was competing in local Spelling Bees, a path that culminated with this ultimate title on Thursday, May 31st, 2012.
But despite the early start, winning the National Bee title was not an easy task - In the weeks leading to the event, the young teen practiced for 6 to 10 hours on weekdays and 8-10 hours on the weekends!
Snigdha's win caps off the fifth year in a row that Americans of Indian origin have won this prestigious competition and 10th in the last 14 years. In addition to that, they have also dominated the runner-up category. This year was no exception - 12-year old Stuti Mishra from West Melbourne, Florida took home $12,000 USD after she missed the spelling of the word 'schwarmerie' (excessive, unchecked enthusiasm). Given that she moved from the 19th spot last year to the 2nd this year, we would not be surprised if she takes home the grand prize in 2013 - That is, if she can beat fellow Indian Arvind Mahankali, who has stood third two consecutive years in a row and is determined to win on his third and final attempt, next year!
Now in its 85th year, the National Spelling Bee is organized by E.W. Scripps, a media company that owns national newspapers and television stations. This year, the contest had a record 278 contestants and included six-year old Anne Madison, the youngest contestant to qualify for the semi finals in the history of the Spelling Bee. To read more about this fun competition and see how you can participate, go to www.spellingbee.com.
Resources: Christiansciencemonitor.com, huffingtonpost.com