CHAMPIONSHIP FINALISTS

Speller No. 19, Snigdha Nandipati, 1st place
U-T San Diego, San Diego, California
Age 14, 8th grade
School: Francis Parker School
Hometown: San Diego, California

Snigdha enjoys reading random facts in encyclopedias, particularly those topics pertaining to science or history. In her spare time, she also likes to read whodunits and adventures, and she collects unique coins from around the world. Snigdha competes in Science Olympiad and has earned several medals. She and her teammates will be attending the California state competition this year. At school, Snigdha participates in math club, MATHCOUNTS, Math Field Day and other math-related events. She attends the San Diego Math Circle each week. Snigdha is an executive member of the school Yearbook Club and she plays violin. She is fluent in Telugu. Snigdha participated in the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee, tying for 27th place.

Speller No. 44, Stuti Mishra, 2nd place
Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, Florida
Age 14, 8th grade
School: Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy
Hometown: West Melbourne, Florida

Stuti likes to read, write and draw. She is interested in computer art and design, and she is currently learning computer programming. Stuti also likes to swim. She enjoys learning languages like French, and she can speak Hindi and Oriya. At school, Stuti is a member of National Junior Honor Society and Math Bowl. She received state recognition for the Duke Talent Identification Program and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Stuti likes to spend time with her family, especially playing and dancing with her sister. Stuti tied for 19th place in the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

Speller No. 162, Arvind Mahankali, 3rd place
Daily News, New York, New York
Age 12, 7th grade
School: Junior High School 74 Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hometown: Bayside Hills, New York

Arvind excels in math and science, and he can sing “The Elements” song by Tom Lehrer. He would like to become a physicist like his role model, Albert Einstein. In both 2009 and 2012, Arvind received an award for high honors from the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University. Outside of school, Arvind participates in tennis, basketball, drama and Indian classical music. He speaks Telugu and Spanish, and he enjoys reading. Arvind’s favorite book is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Arvind participated in the 2010 and 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bees, tying for 9th place in 2010 and 3rd place in 2011. 

Speller No. 89, Gifton Wright, 4th place tie
Jamaica Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica
Age 14, 8th grade
School: Kingston College
Hometown: Spanish Town, Jamaica

Gifton likes participating in competitions, and he enjoys singing and dancing. In his spare time he participates in track and field and football, and he plays checkers and computer games. At school, Gifton is deputy head boy, is on the Quiz team, and participates in the Chess and Math clubs. He excels in math and earned the highest math grade in his school. Gifton is learning to speak French, and he really likes to spell. He hopes to become a doctor someday. This is Gifton’s first trip to Washington, D.C., and he’s really looking forward to it.

Speller No. 193, Nicholas Rushlow, 4th place tie
Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, Lancaster, Ohio
Age 14, 8th grade
School: Lakeview Junior High School
Hometown: Pickerington, Ohio

Nicholas is a year-round competitive swimmer, and his favorite events are the 500-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke. Last summer, Nicholas placed third in the 50-meter backstroke at the Tri-County Championships, and he was on the 200-meter freestyle relay team that took first place. Nicholas is also an avid LEGO collector. He likes to use his spelling skills playing Scrabble, and he’s good at chess. This year, Nicholas has started playing ping-pong in a school club. He has played violin for nine years and is a member of the Suzuki Music Columbus Tour Group. Nicholas participated in the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bees, tying for 17th place in 2009, 33rd place in 2010 and 14th place in 2011.  

Speller No. 213, Lena Greenberg, 4th place tie
The Philadelphia Tribune, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Age 14, 8th grade
School: Home School
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lena enjoys foreign languages and other cultures, especially from the far north or Spain. She is very interested in politics and current events, and each day visits the BBC, CNN and Spanish-language websites to scan the latest news. A published author, Lena is the former executive editor of YALDAH, a national magazine for Jewish girls, as well as the layout editor for her synagogue’s 16-20 page monthly newsletter. Lena has written articles for the children’s magazines Stone Soup, Cricket, New Moon Girls and Creative Kids. She volunteers at Friendship Circle, an organization for Jewish kids with special needs. Lena participated in the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Speller No. 30, Frank Cahill, 7th place
The Denver Post, Denver, Colorado
Age 14, 8th grade
School: Ave Maria Catholic School
Hometown: Parker, Colorado

Frank’s best school subject is math, and he was a Colorado state finalist in the MATHCOUNTS National Competition in 2011 and 2012.  He is also musically inclined, playing violin in the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as piano. Frank participates in theatre and has played the lead roles in Dracula and Oliver Twist. He is a defenseman on the Parker Hawks Lacrosse team and a member of the varsity basketball team at his school. Frank is a 4.0 honor roll student, John Francis Regis Scholar and a Boy Scout. In his spare time he likes sculpting and reading.

Speller No. 136, Jordan Hoffman, 8th place tie
Jackson County Spelling Bee Collaborative, Kansas City, Missouri
Age 14, 8th grade
School: Pleasant Lea Middle School
Hometown: Lee's Summit, Missouri

Jordan takes piano and voice lessons, and she composes music and lyrics in her free time. This past fall, she wrote an a cappella choral composition, which the Lee’s Summit Youth Chorale performed throughout the year. Jordan is a member of that chorale, along with the eighth grade Black and Gold Honors Choir at school. Jordan and several friends are currently planning a benefit concert to raise funds for a family member's medical expenses. Jordan also mentors seventh graders, takes advanced studies coursework and acts in the school Awards Assembly theater program. One of her favorite hobbies is reading and writing poetry and stories. Jordan participated in the 2010 and 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bees.

Speller No. 145, Emma Ciereszynski, 8th place tie
New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester, New Hampshire
Age 14, 8th grade
School: Dover Middle School
Hometown: Dover, New Hampshire

Emma enjoys writing, drawing and reading. She was reading proficiently at age two, and today her favorite novel is House of Leaves. Emma likes to listen to many genres of music and loves to play her piano and trumpet. She is in the school concert and jazz bands, and she plays classical piano. Emma rides horses competitively in the discipline of Hunter-Jumper. She is also a member of the school drama club. Emma is a Girl Scout who has earned the Bronze Award. She and her troop often volunteer at a local soup kitchen. She has two Dalmatians, Dottie and Buddy. Emma is a high honor roll student and wants to be a neurosurgeon.


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