Culture

San Diego Student Wins National Spelling Bee Contest With ‘Guetapens’

Fri., Jun. 1, 2012 7:56 AM EDT
by Terry Shropshire

Snigdha Nandipati, a 14-year-old eighth grader from Southern California, took home the top prize in the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday by spelling “guetapens,” a French word for ambush or trap.

Now that was way too easy.

After Nandipati spelled the final word to win the nationally televised, ESPN contest, she yelled “it’s a miracle!”

Nandipati seemed destined for this type of victory; she said reads the encyclopedia for fun. But before you begin to hate, keep in mind that she studied six hours a day during the week and 10-12 hours on the weekends in preparation for the spelling bee. Now that is putting in work.

Stuti Mishra, a 14-year-old eighth grader from Orlando, Fla., finished in second place after misspelling “schwarmerei,” a German word for excessive enthusiasm. Arvind Mahankali, a 12-year-old seventh grader from Bayside Hills, N.Y., finished third for a second year in a row after failing to spell “schwannoma,” a kind of nerve cell tumor.

Probably because her grandparents, who flew in from India, were in the audience, Nandipati offered a politically correct answer on how she would spend her $30,000 in prize money: “I don’t know, save it for college.”

She spelled “admittatur,” an admission certificate, “arrondissement,” a French urban district, and “saccharolytic,” referring to the breakdown of sugars in metabolism, on her way to the title.

Nandipati, Mishra and Mahankali were among nine finalists winnowed from 278 contestants who started the nation-wide spelling contest on Wednesday.

The competition took place on stage at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just south of Washington.

The final competition was aired live on the ESPN Sports network.

In addition to her cash prize, Nandipati won a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and a $5,000 scholarship, among other awards.

Tags: