Local student advances in National Spelling Bee

Snigdha Nandipati, of San Diego, smiles as she spells the word "ringent" during the second round of the National Spelling Bee on Wednesday in Maryland. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

“I feel more prepared, I think,” said Snigdha, an eighth-grader at Francis Parker School. “Instead of cramming a few weeks before I think I’ve spread out my studying over a longer period of time.”

Wearing a blue placard with the No. 19 on it, Snigdha aced the two words she was given in round two and round three Wednesday — “ringent,” which means having lips widely separated such as those on flowers, and “lahar,” which means a moving mass of volcanic debris. she missed only two of the 25 words that counted in a 50-word computerized spelling test Tuesday.

Snigdha, who qualified for the national bee after winning the county spelling bee in March, is being sponsored by U-T San Diego. she said she recognized a lot of familiar faces at the national competition, including competitors and pronouncer Jacques A. Bailly, a professor from the University of Vermont. Snigdha is one of 52 two-year repeaters at the contest. two are competing in their fifth national bee, four are four-year repeaters and 14 are at their third.

Snigdha said she often spends five to six hours a night studying and some weekends up to 12 hours a day reviewing words and taking tests. she also enjoys reading encyclopedia entries, plays violin, is fluent in Telugu and is an executive member of her school’s Yearbook Club. she hopes to become a neurosurgeon.

She ditched the flash cards she had used to study last year and instead relied on a computer program designed by her father that pulls random words from the dictionary and spits out spelling tests she can take on the computer. she said the program can test her on up to 500 words an hour.

Snigdha’s father, Krishnarao Nandipati, a software engineer, said his daughter can make lists that are segregated by language and by difficulty, including Tagalog or Maori words that can’t be found in printed English dictionaries.

Local student advances in National Spelling Bee

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