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/

Sydney Cho Becomes California Champ

In Kern County, California, the spelling bee program reached more than 60,000 students and narrowed down to just one — Sydney Cho, a 13-year-old from Norris Middle School. After nearly four hours of fierce competition, Sydney spelled "polities" correctly to win a trip to the national finals, courtesy of the program's sponsor, KERO Channel 23. 

Photo credit: KERO 23 ABC News

Paul Hamrick Keeps Monterey, CA Title

Paul Hamrick admitted that this year's Countywide Spelling Bee in Monterey, California, was more difficult than his win in 2017. With the most students competing, the 23-round event was the competition's longest. Paul, an eighth-grade homeschool student, correctly spelled "controversy" to earn a return trip to the national finals.

Photo credit: Vernon McKnight, The Californian