Ashrita Gandhari, a 14-year-old Leesburg student, advanced to the championship round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee after her fourth career semi-final appearance Sunday night. She will join 10 other finalists to compete for the national title on July 8 in Orlando, FL.
Gandhari, a rising ninth grader, competed against 30 spellers in the virtual semifinals that was broadcast live to a national audience on ESPN2. She successfully navigated the words “quondam,” “cataplexy,” and “asterixis.”
“I was super proud of myself and all of the hard work I put into this. I know my hard work paid off,” Gandhari said.
Gandhari prepared for the competition with 10-hour practice days, flashcard drills, and quizzing with the help of her family members. She has qualified for the national bee in the 2017, 2018, and 2019, and has been spelling competitively since she was five years old.
In the final rounds, she’ll be vying for the Scripps Cup and more than $50,000 in cash prizes.