Scripps Spelling Bee winner Ananya Vinay to make appearance at this year's competition

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Scripps National Spelling Bee kicks off on Memorial Day and a familiar Fresno face will be gracing the stage again. 13-year-old Ananya Vinay took home the title last year and will be returning this year as an honorary guest. She'll be flying to Washington D.R. for the opening ceremony, carrying the very trophy she won last year.

A year after getting crowned as America's best speller, Ananya is still the same inquisitive girl. She's grateful to be watching most of the competition this year from the comfort of her couch.

"I'll probably be more relaxed, and I'll just be trying to spell the words and root for my friends and have a good time," said Ananya Vinay.

Ananya is the first person from Fresno ever to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She isn't allowed to compete again this year, but that hasn't stopped her from sharing her knowledge with the next generation of spellers.

"It's definitely a better feeling to have someone you taught to succeed because it's like I helped, it's just a feeling of pride."

Ananya has spent the last few months designing online study guides. She also helps coach the spelling team at her school. One of her protégées will be competing at Scripps next week.

"It's not just for nerds. You learn a lot about the world, and you learn about science, math, public speaking, so it's not just memorization."

Spelling has become much more than just a source of pride.

"You learn a lot of confidence in the spelling bee, because you are standing on the stage in front of a lot of people, and it really helps you get rid of your stage fright."

Her insatiable appetite for knowledge is on full display in her study room. From Math Counts to the Science Fair, to the Science Bowl, Ananya has gone on this year to win so many more competitions.
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