Clovis student wins state spelling bee for second year

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Ananya Vinay, 11, from Clovis Unified's Fugman Elementary School survived 17 rounds of competition to come away victorious. (KFSN)

A Central Valley student won the California State Elementary Spelling Bee for the second time in a row.

Ananya Vinay, 11, from Clovis Unified's Fugman Elementary School survived 17 rounds of competition to come away victorious.

Walking away with the title for the second year in a row was no easy task.

Vinay faced 55 other students from fourth through sixth grade from 28 counties.

Vinay's winning word -- "pugilist." And she's no stranger to spelling bees.

In March, Vinay won the Fresno County spell-off, which qualified her to compete next month in the Scripps National Spelling bee in Maryland.

"I'm going to try to do some of the dictionary like study harder words," Ananya said. "Because the nationals are a completely different level."

Vinay's mother says, with every free moment, the 5th grader has been reading and learning from books on how to spell different words.

"That is kind of the base or the root kind of thing and from there she started in small competitions and she did well," her mom Anupama Poliyedath said.

Vinay qualified last year for the national finals but didn't have a sponsor, which is a requirement to enter.

This year the Fresno County Office of Education is working with several other education and business partners to make that possible.

"It is a very competitive environment and there are like 285 kids," Poliyedath said. "And this is her first time. So, I think we're just going to enjoy it and see what happens."

Both mom and daughter know the competition will be tough and Vinay has turned to her teacher for help.

"She'll come up to me and say 'I'm very nervous,'" teacher Susan Inouye said. "'I have a competition coming up, do you have advice,' and my advice to her is always: just be yourself because she's very gifted."

We'll find out at the end of May if Vinay spells her way to a national championship at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Related Topics:
newseducationclovis unified school districtfresno countygood newsClovis
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