Students at Fugman Elementary welcomed back spelling bee champ

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Ananya Vinay walked through students cheering her name Friday morning, where she was honored on her last day at Fugman Elementary School.

Ananya said, "It's really fun to know that everyone's been behind me this whole time."

Fugman faculty congratulated Ananya on her accomplishment and even replayed the clip of her winning the competition. Staff then presented the 12-year-old student with awards and a trophy.

After school staff took the stage to tell Ananya how proud they are, the spelling superstar thanked everyone who helped her get here

Ananya's parents have been right by her side, and say they are proud of their daughter for her determination and accomplishing her dream.

"She sees the word, she hears the word, she feels the word, and then looks at stories behind words. So she is actually getting a lot of knowledge through this and that's why I think a lot of this sticks in her brain," said Vinay Sreekumar, Dad.

Ananya said she practiced about three hours a day throughout the year, and although she has to retire from spelling bees at the ripe old age of 12, she wants to keep her love for words going and hopes to coach students in spelling. And after enjoying a few hours at school with her friends, she hit the road to Hollywood with family for her Jimmy Kimmel taping.

"It's been really exciting and fun to meet all these people."

Ananya said once the media tour is over she is going to have a normal summer, and says she will relax by reading a book.
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