Samhita Kumar Earns Repeat Trip to DC

Samhita Kumar, a seventh-grader from Winston Churchill Middle School in Carmichael, California, correctly spelled "osphresis" to earn a repeat trip to Washington, D.C., where she will once again try to advance to the Finals. She is the two-time champion of the California Central Valley Spelling Bee, sponsored by The Sacramento Bee newspaper. 

Photo credit: Renee C. Byer, The Sacramento Bee

Vasundara Govindarajan Wins Fourth Time in Florida

Vasundara Govindarajan, an eighth-grader at Frank C. Martin International K-8 Center in southwest Miami-Dade, Florida, is enjoying her fourth consecutive win in the Miami-Dade Bee. This year, she won in the 12th round, with “escadrille.” She says she's read the dictionary cover to cover. She was inspired by her brother, who competed twice in the national finals. 

Photo credit: Pedro Portal, Miami Herald

Jashun Paluru Makes it a Trio of Indiana Titles

Jashun Paluru of Battle Ground Middle School in West Lafayette, Indiana, won his third straight title when he correctly spelled "portulaca" in the finals of the Administrator Assistance regional bee. The eighth-grader was a strong competitor in his first two appearances on the national stage, finishing 10th in 2016 and 12th in 2017. 

Photo credit: Mark Bowen, Scripps National Spelling Bee

Atman Balakrishnan Follows Father's Footsteps

Atman Balakrishnan, a sixth-grader at Hinsdale Middle School, has the support of his parents and a study buddy in his little brother to encourage him as he heads to the national finals. The Chicago student won the DuPage County competition by correctly spelling "portulaca." His father, Dr. Balu Natarajan, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 1985. 

Photo credit: DuPage County Regional Office of Education

Emily Fouts Ready to Venture Outside of Idaho

Emily Fouts, an eighth-grader at Vera C. O’Leary Middle School in Twin Falls, Idaho, is ready for her grand adventure to the nation's capital. She won the fourth annual Times-News regional spelling bee when she spelled “isinglass.” It was a word she knew well thanks to plenty of preparation. It will be her first trip outside of her state. 

Photo credit: Alison Gene Smith, Times-News/